Yury Fedotov

Director General/Executive Director

Remarks to the participants of the International Workshop on  Combating Trafficking in Human Beings

29 May 2013, Minsk

Уважаемый Николай Александрович,

Distinguished Participants,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very pleased to have the opportunity to open, together with Mr. Nikolay Melchenko, Deputy Interior Minister of the Republic of Belarus, this International Seminar on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings.

I welcome this opportunity because fighting  human trafficking is one of my key priorities as the Executive Director of UNODC.

I also congratulate Belarus on its own commitment to this challenge. Within the UN, Belarus has been playing a leading role in the Group of Friends United Against Human Trafficking.

It initiated an important resolution on "Improving the coordination of efforts against trafficking in persons," which was adopted by the General Assembly in December 2012.

Just over two weeks ago, a high level meeting of the General Assembly on appraising the UN Global Plan of Action took place in New York.

The event, held as a direct result of this resolution, was highly successful in helping us to reflect on past actions against human trafficking, as well as provide an outline of future activities.

I was also encouraged by the commitments, made at this meeting by several countries, including the Republic of Belarus, to provide  additional contributions to the UN Trust Fund in support of the victims of human trafficking.

Dear Colleagues,

Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery, it exploits the most vulnerable, especially women and children.

This disgusting  crime represents a dark stain on  our societies, and undermines our common desire for a safer world.

No country or region can feel justified in ignoring this crime, which has millions of victims and generates billions of dollars for the criminals.

To combat this crime, we need to build a comprehensive and coordinated response at the local, regional and international levels.

This includes focusing on criminal justice systems, assisting and protecting the victims, observing fundamental human rights, as well as drafting suitable policies on migration and the regulation of the labor market.

Nations must also encourage a greater commitment towards joint operations across borders, the development of effective national strategies, the sharing of best practices and the active use of mutual legal assistance to apprehend the criminals and disrupt their networks.

In particular, I would highlight four key points that nations should commit themselves to:

  • First, the ratification and full implementation of the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and its protocol on trafficking in persons;
  • Second, the provision of detailed information and data to better understand the nature of this sophisticated transnational threat.
  • Third, a strong commitment from all members of the Inter-agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons to pursue this crime with vigor and with determination; and
  • Fourth, additional financial support to the Trust Fund on human trafficking created under the Global Plan of Action.

However, much of this crime takes place in the dark corners of our modern societies. Our duty is to expose this crime by bringing it out into the light.

I would urge everyone, the private sector, civil society organizations, the public and the media to play their own role in eradicating this crime.

The Republic of Belarus takes a lead in many of these areas and has strongly supported the Trust Fund.

Support was also given by Belarus to the publication of the UNODC 2012 Global Report on Human Trafficking, which I launched last year in New York.

Following today's meeting, UNODC is planning to hold a training workshop in Belarus on the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking cases.

The objective of this training is to strengthen the capacity of the criminal justice system to respond to human trafficking.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Ending human trafficking requires a firm commitment from us all.

We must be vigilant, we must be committed, but above all, we must have the right tools in place to promote coordinated action across the world.

I am glad that Belarus is such a valued and trusted partner in the fight against human trafficking and that it continues to promote the work of UNODC in this area.

At the recent 22nd session of the Commission on Crime Procedure and Criminal Justice, Belarus initiated another  resolution on this issue.

Today's meeting is a further evidence of this support and I hope that we will continue to work closely together in the future against this crime.

I, therefore, wish you every success with today's meeting and I look forward to reviewing the recommendations that will come as the result of your discussions.

Thank you.