Foto: UNODCWe must re-double our efforts to bring an end to human trafficking, says President of UN General Assembly

10 April 2012 - The President of the 66th United Nations General Assembly His Excellency Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser called on Member States, civil society, the private sector and the media to step up efforts to bring an end to human trafficking, calling it "an appalling form of human rights abuse".

"Human trafficking denies individuals their dignity, reducing them to mere objects by shamelessly exploiting them," he said.

His Excellency Al-Nasser was speaking at the United Nations Headquarters in New York during an interactive dialogue on human trafficking organized by UNODC and the Group of Friends United Against Human Trafficking (which comprises 21 Member States) as a follow up to the 2007 Conference on Trafficking in Women and Girls.

The forum, which brought together senior United Nations officials, Member States representatives and anti-human trafficking activists discussed partnerships and innovation in protecting victims of human trafficking; and the role of governments, international organizations, the private sector and civil society in providing assistance to victims of human trafficking. Participants identified existing challenges in implementing the 2010 United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, and looked at ways of improving the international community's coordinated efforts to end human trafficking.

His Excellency Al-Nasser said the fund set up to support victims of human trafficking as a result of the Global Plan of Action is already making a crucial difference in the lives of victims all over the world, but more needs to be done.

"I thank those Member States who have generously contributed to the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking, however the funds received to date are not enough. The Trust Fund needs strong and continued support if it is to succeed as an engine for the delivery of assistance to victims," he said. The Trust Fund, created in 2011 and managed by UNODC, provides critical on-the-ground humanitarian, legal and financial aid to victims of trafficking.

Mr. Yury Fedotov, UNODC Executive Director reported that since the Trust Fund was created, around $1 million has been pledged, with around $470,000 contributed. In the first tranche, awards of up to US$25,000 were given to 11 NGOs.

Mr. Fedotov added that funds received so far have supported the provision of educational, medical and psycho social assistance to child victims of trafficking in Cambodia; assisted victims in Albania through a reintegration program, and supported a Nepalese NGO almost entirely staffed by the survivors of human trafficking.

Mr. Fedotov called for a coordinated and meaningful response to human trafficking, noting that due to the multifaceted nature of human trafficking, and its close connections with other transnational issues, no country is capable of combating this transnational threat on its own.

He added that tackling human trafficking needs to balance progressive and proactive law enforcement with activities that combat the market forces driving human trafficking in many destination countries.

"We have the partnerships, we have the necessary innovation, we must now bring this shameful crime to an end," said Mr. Fedotov.

One of the most lucrative forms of organized crime, human trafficking generates $32 billion annually, rivalling the profits reaped by the illicit trade in arms and drugs. According to UNODC data, women comprise two thirds of trafficking victims. At any given time, an estimated 2.4 million people are trapped in human trafficking.

The outcome of the interactive dialogue will be a President's Summary which will provide substantive contribution to the 57th Commission on the Status of Women in 2013.

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