Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
My thanks to the Austrian Task Force on Combating Human Trafficking for inviting me to address this important event, ahead of the European Union’s Anti-Trafficking Day.
Human trafficking is a lucrative, transnational crime that exploits people for profit.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime will soon launch a new study on illicit financial flows from migrant smuggling and human trafficking, which will show that traffickers can make profits of up to 1,000 per cent from prostitution rings.
By following the money, we can go after the criminal networks and bring them to justice.
However, stronger capacities and cooperation are needed to pursue effective financial investigations and end impunity.
To help Member States leverage financial evidence to disrupt and prosecute trafficking in persons, UNODC works closely with investigators, prosecutors, and judges through its global programmes in 56 countries.
We are proud to have supported the first-ever joint investigation into human trafficking cases by France and Bosnia and Herzegovina, which brought together their anti-money laundering units, and enabled the seizure of illicit assets and the arrest of the perpetrators.
Last year, we worked with Germany’s Anti-Financial Crime Alliance on an algorithm for banks to identify financial transactions that could be linked to human trafficking.
And we will soon be launching new guidance on how public-private partnerships can help to counter trafficking, which was developed with experts from 52 countries, including financial sector representatives.
Financial institutions have an essential role to play in supporting the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking, and I congratulate Liechtenstein on mobilizing action through the Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking Initiative with the United Nations University.
UNODC looks forward to working closely with you and with all our partners to strengthen detection of trafficking proceeds, to bring traffickers to justice, help victims and put an end to the exploitation. Thank you.