Bratislava, 18 October 2023 – Mr. Martin Královič - the State Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior of the Slovak Republic and National Coordinator for Fighting Trafficking in Persons, announced Slovakia’s partnership in the ‘Blue Heart Campaign’ of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) during a press conference on 18 October.
He was joined by Mrs. Soňa Grauzlová, director of the Information Centre for the Fight against Human Trafficking and Crime Prevention of Slovakia’s Ministry of the Interior; Mr. Miroslav Dzurech, Secretary General of the Slovak Catholic Charity; and Ilias Chatzis, Head of the Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section at UNODC.
Through this partnership with UNODC, Slovakia joins 36 other Member States in their efforts to raise awareness around the globe of human trafficking and its impact on people and society.
Despite international efforts, anti-trafficking responses are falling short and leaving many victims unprotected. Detection rates for victims of trafficking fell by 11 per cent globally in 2020 over the previous year, while convictions for trafficking offences dropped by 27 per cent, according to UNODC’s latest Global Report on Trafficking in Persons.
Increasingly recognized as the symbol against human trafficking, the Blue Heart represents both the sadness of those who have been trafficked and the cold heart of the traffickers.
Mrs. Grauzlová of Slovakia spoke about the vulnerability of victims of human trafficking and the need to be more sensitive. “Let's be attentive, be sensitive, offer help, support and open our hearts to the victims of human trafficking. The first priority must be the victim-centred approach.”
Data shows that Slovakia is a source, transit and a destination country for trafficking in persons, especially for sex trafficking and forced labour. Slovakia represents a source country due to the high unemployment rates, poverty and economic disparities that make women, men and young people potential victims of traffickers. Slovakia also attracts refugees, temporary workers, and migrants who become vulnerable to human traffickers.
Slovakia has enacted comprehensive legislation to combat human trafficking. Section 179 of the criminal code criminalizes trafficking in human beings. Moreover, Slovakia adopted the fifth National Programme against Trafficking in Human Beings (2019-2023), which outlines specific objectives and strategies for addressing trafficking.
The Blue Heart Campaign encourages everyone – governments; intergovernmental, international and non-profit organizations; the private/corporate sector; civil society; and individuals - to take action to help stop human trafficking and fight its impact on society. Learn more about how you can become involved here.