EU and UNODC discuss trafficking in persons and the smuggling of migrants

Brussels, Belgium - 21 February 2019 - On 12 February 2019, Mr Ilias Chatzis, Chief of the Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section, and Ms Kristiina Kangaspunta, Chief of UNODC's Crime Research Section, briefed the European Commission and the EEAS counterparts on UNODC's work on trafficking in persons (TIP) and on smuggling of migrants (SOM). The meeting was conveyed by Ms Myria Vassiliadou, EU Anti-trafficking Coordinator, to discuss EU and UNODC priorities and foreseen opportunities for future collaboration to fight this horrendous crime. 

Mr Chatzis updated the EU Officials on UNODC's involvement in the latest normative and policy works (such as the Report of the Secretary-General on trafficking in persons in armed conflict pursuant to Security Council resolution 2388, the  thematic paper on countering trafficking in persons in conflict situations and the  Issue Paper on the International Legal Definition of Trafficking in Persons). He explained UNODC's work within the Inter-Agency Coordination Group Against Trafficking in Persons (ICAT). ICAT has grown rapidly over the past year and now consist of 23 agencies. In 2018 it produced issue briefs on trafficking in children and the role of SDGs in combatting trafficking in persons.

Ms Kristiina Kangaspunta, Chief of UNODC's Crime Research Section, had the opportunity to present the 2018 Global Report on Trafficking in Person. Globally, countries are detecting and reporting more victims and convicting more traffickers; sexual exploitation continues to be the main purpose for trafficking and women are the most detected victims. Ms Kangaspunta informed the EU Officials on the intention to create a UNODC Real-Time Observatory on Smuggling of Migrants to monitor migrant smuggling from Africa to Europe. The pilot phase will consist of data collection through three surveys and five field studies in West and North Africa and in Europe.

Ms Eurídice Márquez, Officer in Charge of  GLO.ACT the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants, highlighted GLO.ACT's holistic approach working with the 13 partner countries in the prevention and fight against TIP and SOM. Ms. Márquez shared key good practices and lessons learned during the last 3,5 years of project implementation such as on bringing new legislative amendments, development of national action plans and strategies, as well as on improving regional and international cooperation. Mr Panagiotis Papadimitriou, Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Expert, briefed  the EU officials about UNODC's technical cooperation provided to partner countries in implementing the Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants Protocols.

During the meeting, the EU colleagues reiterated their strong commitment to the UN Trafficking in Persons and Migrant Smuggling Protocols and recalled the EU's priorities to end the culture of impunity, disrupt the business model of the traffickers and improve victim access to their rights.

GLO.ACT is a four-year (2015-2019), €11 million joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The project is being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). GLO.ACT aims to assist to governmental authorities and civil society organizations across 13 strategically selected countries: Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Mali, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, South Africa, Ukraine. It supports the development of more effective responses to trafficking and smuggling, including assisting victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants through the strengthening of identification, referral, and direct support mechanisms.


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