Ladies and gentlemen,
I am pleased to see so many delegations in the room today, which attests to your commitment at the highest level here in New York to putting an end to trafficking in persons.
Every two years, as mandated by the UN General Assembly, the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons sheds light on the magnitude of this crime.
The 2022 report underscores that trafficking in persons is part of a larger picture of a world where stability is under threat from war and conflict, economic calamity and global crises such as climate change and post COVID-19 recovery challenges.
All of these crises intensify the risks for vulnerable populations.
People in desperate straits – impoverished, displaced or unprotected – are attractive targets for traffickers, who see them as potential income generators rather than human beings in need.
So we must do more to protect the vulnerable and to identify and help trafficking victims.
This is particularly important now because the pandemic may have pushed many victims deeper underground or online, where they are harder to find.
We need to build partnerships among governments, civil society and the private sector to detect victims, and create gender-responsive protection and assistance that take victims’ specific experience and needs into account.
Survivors must be a key part of the equation at every step.
Allow me to appeal for your continued support to the dedicated UN voluntary trust fund for victims of trafficking.
We also need to do more to hunt down traffickers, especially organized criminal groups, which exploited 46 percent of detected victims, holding them for longer periods and subjecting them to higher levels of violence.
Organized crime is motivated by profit pure and simple, so we should follow the money to identify those who benefit from the crime.
UNODC supports national efforts to seize and forfeit the proceeds of crime, and to combat money-laundering and corruption, key enablers of trafficking in persons.
We are also deepening our research on connections between trafficking in persons, organized crime and corruption.
In December we will issue a global study on the links between trafficking and corruption at the Conference of States Parties to the UN Convention on Corruption.
Nothing can be achieved without effective cooperation among States.
In the last two years, UNODC has undertaken a new initiative to support South-South operational cooperation in countering trafficking in persons along specific transregional routes.
In 2022 alone, we brought together over 20 origin and transit countries, which resulted in new investigations and assistance and protection to trafficking victims and migrants stranded in transit countries.
The next Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, due in 2024, will put a special focus on Africa.
Ladies and gentlemen,
UNODC has a key role and responsibility in advancing consistent policy and coordinated, victim-centered action to counter trafficking in persons.
We support countries in developing national action plans, strategies and legislation to counter trafficking based on the principles of prevention, prosecution and protection.
And we work with key partners across the UN to strengthen common approaches to emerging challenges, including through the Inter-Agency Coordination Group on Trafficking in Persons.
I am glad that the Director-General of IOM will also address the meeting.
We all continue to grapple with the misuse of information and communication technologies for trafficking in persons, and to explore how we can use these new tools to respond to this crime.
This is a topic you are very familiar with from your recent discussions in the Commission on the Status of Women.
Two years ago, UNODC and the Office of the President of the General Assembly coordinated an appraisal of the 2010 Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, which, with the support of many delegations here today, took stock of achievements and identified gaps after the Plan’s first ten years.
Today, as we look ahead to the next appraisal here in New York in 2025, we all remain committed to ensuring that joint responses focus on the needs of victims.
I would like to thank all delegations for your sustained efforts to end trafficking in persons, as demonstrated by the many trafficking-related resolutions you negotiated last year in the General Assembly.
UNODC stands ready to support you.