Distinguished Chair of the Board of Trustees,
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Welcome to this event marking the tenth anniversary of the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons.
Managed by UNODC, this is the only UN Trust Fund with a specific focus on women and girl victims of trafficking in persons worldwide.
The Fund provides direct assistance to victims through non-governmental organizations specialized in humanitarian, legal and financial aid.
I warmly welcome the representatives of some of our partner NGOs who have joined us for this event at the 14th Crime Congress.
So far, the Trust Fund has awarded 4.8 million dollars in grants to more than 90 NGO projects around the world, assisting more than 3,500 victims a year.
I thank all donors for their contributions, and I am grateful to Belgium, France and Sweden for their strong support of the Fund and for their involvement in today’s event.
The Trust Fund also relies on the generosity of the private sector and individuals. Moreover, all proceeds from the UNODC Blue Heart campaign go directly to the Trust Fund to support victims.
Every contribution counts, as victims urgently need our help, and trafficking risks are on the rise.
The new UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons shows that 65% of detected trafficking victims are women and girls. Children account for 34% of all detected victims, a share that has tripled over the past 15 years.
In the COVID crisis, vulnerabilities are increasing, as women and youth find themselves particularly affected by job losses, school closures and a lack of access to social protection.
Now is the time to step up victim-centred responses to human trafficking, including direct assistance to survivors.
I hope that together, we can galvanize new support for the Trust Fund, and help more victims rebuild their lives.