Doha, 14 April 2015
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning, and my thanks for coming to this very important event.
The UN Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, helps today's victims become tomorrow's survivors, enabling them to reclaim their dignity and rebuild their lives.
Established through the UN General Assembly's 2010 Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons and administered by UNODC, the Trust Fund provides humanitarian, legal and financial aid to victims. It does this through established channels of assistance, including governmental, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations.
The Fund helps to ensure that women, children and men who have been exploited by traffickers are identified and provided with the assistance, protection and support needed for their physical, psychological and social recovery.
The Trust Fund is also enabling survivors to seek justice against their traffickers in court.
The first three-year grant cycle ended last December. A total of 11 projects in Albania, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, France, Kenya, Israel, Moldova, Nepal, Nigeria and the US received nearly 750,000 dollars.
Some 2,000 victims annually benefitted from direct assistance, including provision of shelter, basic health services, vocational training and schooling, as well as psychosocial, legal and economic support.
Recipients include women like Iris from Uzbekistan, trapped in a years-long cycle of abuse and depression after being trafficked to Israel at the age of 18.
After ending up in a psychiatric hospital for depression, she was held for seven months in immigration detention before the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants secured her release.
Thanks to HRM, she is receiving free psychiatric care while she seeks to gain legal status and a work visa.
They includes men like John, who left Indonesia to work at an assisted care facility in the US in order to fulfil his dream of becoming a nurse, only to find himself forced into labour.
After his rescue, his traffickers continued to harass him, even going so far as to file false police reports.
The Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking provided the rehabilitation services he needed, while the FBI worked with local law enforcement to address the false claims.
They also includes girls like Skye, who was trafficked to India when she was 13.
After escaping back home to Nepal, she filed a case against her trafficker and with the help of Shakti Samuha was able to resume her studies.
She won her case, finished school and now works as a staff member at Shakti Samuha, helping other survivors.
We will be hearing more about this organization from Ms. Danuwar this morning. We also have a new publication available here today, documenting other good work achieved under the Trust Fund.
And this hard work continues. The call for proposals for the second grant cycle received over 100 proposals from 59 countries.
UNODC identified 91 as eligible for funding, and the Board of Trustees recommended 17 projects for grant funding of nearly one million dollars.
The grants were reviewed and approved for the projects, which are located in Albania, Burundi, Canada, Egypt, Ethiopia, Guatemala, India, Malta, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Romania, Senegal, Serbia, Thailand, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.
Unfortunately, only these 17 projects could be funded with the money available. The Board recommended keeping a further 54 eligible projects on a reserve list, should more funding be provided.
The continuing difficulties in raising money for the Trust Fund, despite its tangible achievements, remains a key challenge in providing meaningful assistance.
Since it was established, the Trust Fund has received just over two million dollars in paid contributions from 19 Member States and just over 30 private-sector donors.
While these contributions have been very gratefully received, they remain below the level of funding needed, and I hope we can rely on your support to ensure that the Trust Fund can have the reach and impact envisaged by the Global Plan of Action.
Let me conclude by commending our civil society partners, including the two colleagues present today, for their tireless efforts.
I would also like to thank the previous and the current Board of Trustees for their strategic guidance.
Finally, let me thank the donors and partners of the Trust Fund. We count on your continued support to help many more women, children and men in the years to come.