Vienna, 18 December 2016 - Vulnerable migrants and refugees in mass movements are at greater risk of being targeted by organized criminal smugglers and human traffickers.
They are being subjected to violence and torture, kidnapping and extortion. They are being trafficked, for sexual exploitation, forced labour or organ removal. Thousands have died on unsafe passage across sea and land.
We cannot allow these appalling crimes to continue. We must do more to protect the lives, rights and freedoms of migrants from the criminals who seek to abuse and exploit them.
The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants adopted at the General Assembly High-Level Summit in September called on states to vigorously combat human trafficking and migrant smuggling, including through proper identification and support, as required by the Protocols on trafficking and migrant smuggling under the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
We need to live up to these commitments, and strengthen action to stop migrant smugglers and human traffickers as part of comprehensive, human-rights based responses to the crises we face.
The process towards a Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration set in motion at the Summit holds the promise of further solidifying and advancing efforts against human trafficking and migrant smuggling. I call on all governments to take this opportunity to seek joint solutions and ensure respect, safety and dignity for all.
We all have a part to play. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has launched the TOGETHER campaign (together.un.org) to engage and activate people all over the world to show support for refugees and migrants.
I urge everyone to join the UN in this effort.
Like every one of us, every single woman, man and child on the move is a person deserving of, and entitled to, protection and rights under the law.
On this International Migrants Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to respect, safety and dignity for all, and our shared responsibility to protect migrants and refugees from violence, abuse and exploitation.
It is time for all of us to show solidarity, and work for justice.
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