Director General/Executive Director
Remarks at the Crime Commission Side Event "Building Better Responses: Human Trafficking In The Context Of Tourism"
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to the event, entitled "Building Better Responses: Human Trafficking In The Context Of Tourism."
I offer a special thanks to the Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organization, Taleb Rifai, for being present today.
Today's event represents an important milestone along the road to building international cooperation in the area of human trafficking, particularly where it is related to tourism.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Every year, women, men and children around the world fall victim to human trafficking.
Human trafficking is a global issue touching every country in every region.
Due to its multifaceted nature and interconnectedness with other crimes, no country, big or small, is capable of combating this multibillion dollar criminal business.
For this reason, our response must be both coordinated and comprehensive with distinct strategies at the local, national and global levels.
Combating this terrible crime remains one of UNODC's top priorities.
Yesterday, we signed with UNWTO a memorandum of understanding that provides an outline for our future cooperation.
This cooperation will be based on a number of key areas such as anti-corruption, trafficking in cultural property, and combating trafficking of persons, in particular women and children.
I am encouraged by the growing awareness of Member States who have started to respond to the impact of tourism on human trafficking.
As an example, India adopted a Code of Conduct for Safe and Honourable Tourism.
The code was drafted by the Ministry of Tourism in partnership with tour operator associations, UNODC, National Commission of Women, PATA India Chapter, Save the Children - India and other NGOs.
In the code, private sector businesses are encouraged to undertake a pledge on delivering safe, honorable and sustainable tourism, including anti-human trafficking practices.
This is a good practice that should be followed up.
Through its own work, UNODC implements the Australian funded, Project Childhood, which assists four South East Asian countries: Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam, to counter the sexual exploitation of children - mainly in the travel and tourism sectors - in the Greater Mekong sub-region.
UNODC takes the lead on the elements related to protection. It is building the capacity of local law enforcement to identify, arrest and prosecute travelling child sex offenders in the four countries.
As just another example, UN.GIFT is distributing information on human trafficking among clients and company staff of some major airlines and the hotel industry that offer anti-trafficking expertise.
We are also working with companies, including in the tourism and travel industry, to encourage them to employ former victims of trafficking, many of whom have been left destitute and damaged by their experiences.
In its current session, the Commission will consider the cross-cutting issue of violence against migrants, migrant workers and their families.
UNODC has also stepped up inter-agency coordination and addresses important aspects of this problem.
In the second half of 2012, UNODC assumes the presidency of the Global Migration Group.
Working with fellow members, UNODC will develop an overview of the challenges and responses for a comprehensive approach to trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants in the context of migration and development.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
If we are to have successes in fighting human trafficking, and we need to, we must continue to develop efforts that explain to businesses and travelers alike the damaging effects of human trafficking.
Through self-regulation and voluntary codes, businesses must also review their practices and those within their supply chains to assist in this approach.
As part of this process, tourists need to be aware of the situation in the countries where they travel.
Whether at work or at leisure, we are surrounded by people who need our help. We cannot ignore them.
UNODC manages the UN Voluntary Trust Fund that was established to support grass-roots NGOs working directly with the survivors of human trafficking.
I call on everyone present to support the Trust Fund, and in doing so, support the victims of this crime of shame.