High- Level Plenary Meeting to review the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons
by Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
27 June 2017
Thank you for this opportunity to voice my concerns about the scale and severity of human rights violations associated with trafficking in persons.
Trafficking is a crime and a violation of the rights of its victims. It is by developing multilateral solutions which are grounded in respect for the dignity and rights of victims that we will effectively combat and prevent this scourge. For literally millions of people, our work is potentially a lifeline. We must continue to advocate the greatest possible emphasis on protection and assistance to victims. Many are migrants – frequently, women and children – who have been deceived or abducted. They are sold, trafficked for sexual exploitation, forced labour, removal of organs and other profoundly abusive forms of exploitation.
My Office is strongly committed to helping to assess the progress that is made by States in combating trafficking – including through our work with the UN human rights mechanisms. The ICAT Toolkit for Guidance in Designing and Evaluating Counter-Trafficking should be broadly employed to build the evidence base. I am glad to note the participation of members of the Interagency Coordination Group against trafficking in your discussions, as well as civil society and National Human Rights Institutions.
We must focus on the protection of people in the context of conflict and humanitarian crises, as well as natural disasters, ensuring that at every stage of their journeys, migrants and refugees receive the greatest possible protection; that they are informed of the risks of human trafficking; and that they are advised how best to try to avoid them.
It also means ensuring that development is truly inclusive, leaving no-one behind. The 2030 Agenda is a roadmap to the empowerment of all people, and will lead to great progress in this regard.
Moreover, accountability is essential. Trafficking is a profoundly damaging human rights violation and it is a crime. Its perpetrators must be sought out and held to account.
I look forward to the results of your discussions, and to the outcome of the September upcoming appraisal