Yury Fedotov

Director General/Executive Director

Remarks at the Opening session UN General Assembly Interactive Dialogue "Fighting Human Trafficking: Partnership and Innovation to End Violence against Women and Children"


Mr. President,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am extremely pleased to address this high level meeting at the General Assembly Interactive Dialogue on the issue of "Fighting Human Trafficking: Partnership and Innovation to End Violence against Women and Children."

Indeed, this is a challenge of extraordinary proportions. US$32 billion is being earned by unscrupulous criminals running human trafficking  networks every year.

At any one time, 2.4 million people suffer the misery of this humiliating and degrading crime.

Of the individuals trafficked each year, 17 per cent are trafficked for the purposes of forced labour, while 80 per cent are trafficked for sexual exploitation.

Children, women, migrants, refugees and internally displaced persons, are particularly vulnerable to human trafficking.

The international community also needs to be aware that the conditions for human trafficking, as with other crimes, are heightened by conflict and the lack of security.

Human trafficking is also an issue of economic and social development. However, this crime is not simply the symptom of a fragile or poor country, it occurs in every region; irrespective of the size of the GDP.

Due to the multifaceted nature of human trafficking, and its close connections with other transnational issues, no country is capable of combating this transnational threat on its own.

This global threat, therefore, requires a coordinated and meaningful response at all levels: local, regional and international.

The foundation for these activities must be the Palermo Convention on Transnational Organized Crime, including its protocol on human trafficking.

Our approach needs to balance progressive and proactive law enforcement with activities that combat the market forces driving human trafficking in many destination countries.

With very few victims being detected when it most matters, we must work closely with enforcement bodies to increase the risks of arrest, trial and imprisonment for traffickers.

In contesting the market forces, we must also raise awareness of this issue at the national and international levels, but especially in communities.

To achieve this, we are forging partnerships and empowering key groups within societies, particularly, women, young people and the private sector.

Women must receive our fullest support. Two out of every three victims of this crime are women.

Around 7 individuals every hour are trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation in Europe.

Far too often, women and young girls are the victims of the trafficking and the physical, psychological, and economic violence that accompanies it.  We must stop this.

This means working with every link in the criminal justice chain to promote sensitivity and understanding of violent crime and how it targets women.

Complementing this approach, we must design advocacy campaigns capable of educating people about human trafficking and its violence.

Young people everywhere must also be engaged by these activities. We need to help them channel their passion and dedication into the movement to eradicate this crime.

The private sector has an ability to support local communities and encourage best practices.

It is especially important that human trafficking is addressed through the supply chains of the private sector. The United Nations stands ready to assist in this matter.

All of our activities must be based on the strong political commitment of the international community as well as an inter-agency, multi-stakeholder strategy.

There has been significant progress through the work of the United Nations' Inter-Agency Coordination Group and the Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking. But, we must work harder.

In 2010, the UN adopted the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons. Under this plan, a UN Voluntary Trust Fund was established to provide critical aid to those victimized by this crime.

The Trust Fund has already provided funding to support grass-roots NGOs working directly with the survivors of human trafficking.

Since the Trust Fund was created, around US$1,000,000 has been pledged, with around US$470,000 contributed. In the first tranche, awards of up to US$25,000 were given to 11 NGO's.

The funding supported the provision of educational, medical and psychosocial assistance to child victims of trafficking in Cambodia; assisted victims in Albania through a reintegration program, and supported a Nepalese NGO almost entirely staffed by the survivors of human trafficking.

However, there are still significant amounts outstanding. For example, just three countries pledged a total of US$460,000. An amount that has yet to be sent to the Trust Fund.

I call on all countries to assist our project development by sending these outstanding funds as quickly as possible.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have the partnerships, we have the necessary innovation, we must now bring this shameful crime to an end.

I call on all Member States to assist and to make sure that we can align your vision to our practical support for the victims of human trafficking.

Thank you.