03 April 2012 - The President of the sixty-sixth session of the United Nations General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, today called on Member States, civil society, the private sector and the media to step up efforts to bring an end to human trafficking, which he called "an appalling form of human rights abuse".
"Human trafficking denies individuals their dignity, reducing them to mere objects by shamelessly exploiting them," he said.
Mr. Al-Nasser was speaking at 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 International Conference on Trafficking in Women and Girls.
Today's forum, which brought together senior United Nations officials, representatives of Member States and activists in the fight against human trafficking, 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 such victims. Participants in the forum identified existing challenges in implementing the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, adopted by the General Assembly in 2010, and looked at ways of improving the international community's coordinated efforts to end human trafficking.
Mr. Al-Nasser said that the fund set up to support victims of human trafficking as a result of the Global Plan of Action was already making a crucial difference in the lives of victims all over the world, but that more needed to be done.
"I thank those Member States who have generously contributed to the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of 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 United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, created in 2011 and managed by UNODC, provides critical on-the-ground humanitarian, legal and financial aid to victims of trafficking.
UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov reported that, since the Trust Fund had been created, around $1 million had been pledged, with around $470,000 contributed. In the first tranche, awards of up to $25,000 had been given to 11 non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Mr. Fedotov added that funds received so far had supported the provision of educational, medical and psychosocial assistance to child victims of trafficking in Cambodia, assisted victims in Albania through a reintegration programme and supported a Nepalese NGO almost entirely staffed by survivors of human trafficking.
Mr. Fedotov called for a coordinated and meaningful response to human trafficking, noting that, because of the multifaceted nature of human trafficking and its close connection with other transnational issues, no country was capable of combating such a transnational threat on its own.
He added that efforts to tackle human trafficking needed to balance progressive and proactive law enforcement with activities to 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.
Trafficking in Persons is one of the most lucrative forms of organized crime. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), human trafficking generates $32 billion annually. ILO also estimated that at any given time, about 2.4 million people are exploited as a result of human trafficking globally. In the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2009, UNODC calculated that between 2003 and 2006 women comprised about two thirds of trafficking victims detected globally.
The outcome of the interactive dialogue will be a President's summary, which will provide a substantive contribution to the fifty-seventh session of the Commission on the Status of Women, in 2013.