VIENNA, 24 December 2013 - It is ten years since the landmark Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, under the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime came into force.
Adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2000 and entering into force on 25 December 2003, the Protocol was a major step forward in the fight against modern slavery, negotiated and agreed upon by Member States. For the first time, an international instrument called for all acts of human trafficking to be criminalized, including trafficking for sexual exploitation, forced labour, organ removal, domestic servitude or slavery-like practices.
When the Protocol entered into force in 2003, just 35 per cent of countries had a specific offence in their domestic legislation criminalizing all or some forms of trafficking in persons. Now 159 States have ratified or acceded to the Protocol, and more than 90 per cent have criminalized trafficking in persons.
The Protocol has also provided the foundation for further action by Member States, including the adoption in 2010 of a Global Plan of Action by the UN General Assembly calling on Member States to eradicate this crime and establishing a UN Trust Fund to assist human trafficking victims.
UNODC, as the guardian of the Convention and its Protocols, supports States in implementing the Protocol. Working together, we have succeeded in uniting the world against human trafficking. We have shed light on this terrible crime, which for too long was hidden in the shadows, and we have established a strong, agreed basis for concerted action.
Building on these achievements, States must do more to fulfil their commitments under the Protocol and prevent human trafficking, prosecute the criminals, protect and assist victims, and promote the partnerships between states and with civil society to achieve these goals. International frameworks defining what should be done must be backed by concrete national prioritization and engagement.
The past decade has shown how much can be achieved in combating even a complex, global crime like human trafficking, if we are committed and if we work together. Think of how much more could be achieved over the next ten years, and how many more children, women and men could be saved and protected.
With the Trafficking in Persons Protocol we have the essential framework to address human trafficking. On this anniversary, let us renew our cooperation and commitment to end modern slavery once and for all.
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For further information, please contact:
Programme Officer (Communication), UNODC
Telephone: (+43) 1 26060-4990
Mobile: (+43) 699 1459-4990