Yury Fedotov

Director-General/Executive Director

United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund

for Victims of Trafficking in Persons

Especially Women and Children

Launch Statement

New York , 4 November 2010



Mr. Secretary-General, Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Thank you for coming today to show your support for victims of one of the worst crimes against human dignity: trafficking in persons.

Human trafficking has many ugly faces: women coerced into domestic servitude or prostitution; men forced to work for little or no pay in inhumane conditions; individuals tricked or forced to have vital organs removed. Children are vulnerable to being trafficked into forced labour, domestic servitude, begging, the sex trade and warfare.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has been working on anti-human trafficking efforts for many years. UNODC's comprehensive strategy focuses on what we refer to as the three P's:  prevention of trafficking in persons, prosecution of perpetrators, and protection of victims.  And now, in our new role as manager of the Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, we are strengthening a fourth P:  partnerships to support and protect victims.

I would like to acknowledge the deep commitment of the Secretary-General to the anti-human trafficking cause. With his encouragement and help, the General Assembly adopted the Resolution on the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, which established the Trust Fund for Trafficking Victims. We are all very grateful for his dedication and support.

I would also like to pay tribute to Ambassador Antonio Pedro Monteiro Lima of Cape Verde and Ambassador José Filipe Moraes Cabral of Portugal for their central role as facilitators of the Global Plan of Action, and to Ambassador Joseph Deiss, President of the General Assembly. The 20 countries that form the Group of Friends United Against Human Trafficking also pushed hard for the Global Plan.

I would like to thank Ms. Demi Moore and Mr. Ashton Kutcher for being here today to support the launch of the Trust Fund, and for the important work they are doing through the Demi and Ashton Foundation (DNA) to raise awareness about human trafficking and help children who have fallen victim to traffickers.

I would also like to thank UNODC Goodwill Ambassadors Mira Sorvino, Nicholas Cage and Ross Bleckner for their important advocacy on behalf of trafficking victims.

NGOs play a critical role in combating human trafficking. I would like to welcome Ms. Ruchira Gupta, founder of the NGO Apne Aap, which promotes anti-human trafficking initiatives and women's rights in India.

I would like to recognize two courageous survivors of human trafficking who are here with us today. These women managed to escape the snares of their traffickers, and went on to become NGO leaders in the global campaign against human trafficking.  I would ask them to please stand up:

Working together is the only way we will bring an end to human trafficking. The Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons enables Governments, the private sector, intergovernmental organizations, NGOs and individuals to partner with each other to directly and meaningfully help trafficking victims, especially women and children.

I am honoured that UNODC can contribute to such an important cause.  In recent weeks, we worked closely with Member States to develop the Trust Fund's infrastructure and establish its advisory board. I am pleased to report that we received many excellent nominations of highly qualified individuals from all five geographic regions. The Secretary-General had to make very difficult decisions in selecting the five board members from such an impressive applicant pool.

As the Secretary-General has noted, the Trust Fund will only be successful with broad financial support. I would like to thank the Government of Qatar for its generous donation of $500,000, as well as the governments of Luxembourg, Egypt, Thailand, and Malaysia and Mr. Naguib Sawiris Executive-Chairman of Orascom Telecom for pledging donations to the Trust Fund.

I encourage all Member States, as well as businesses, philanthropies and individuals, to contribute generously to the Trust Fund. Victims of human trafficking all over the world need your support and solidarity.

And now, it gives me great pleasure to declare the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons officially open.

And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to introduce the moderator for our panel discussion:  Mr. Nicholas Kristof, op-ed columnist for the New York Times.

Mr. Kristof is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner whose columns often shine a spotlight on trafficking in persons and other critical issues that affect the health and status of girls and women around the world. He is co-author with his wife, journalist Sheryl WuDunn, of several books, including the extraordinary Half the Sky: From Oppression to Opportunity for Women Worldwide.  This book, which is available in the UN bookshop, devotes significant attention to sex trafficking. A documentary film about Mr. Kristof, "Reporter", premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009.

We are honoured to welcome Mr. Kristof back to the UN today.