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    21 November 2017

    Executive Director, UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yury Fedotov:

    Remarks at the Security Council Open Debate on Trafficking in Persons in Conflict Situations

    21 November 2017

    VIENNA/NEW YORK, 21 November 2017 (UN Information Service) - Today's meeting demonstrates the Security Council's strong commitment to confronting the crime of trafficking in persons in conflict and post-conflict situations.

    I thank the Italian Presidency for your initiative and for inviting UNODC to brief the Council.

    This meeting is also crucial as it examines the progress made in implementing Resolution 2331. The new Resolution, to be adopted today, sets new goals and targets in combating human trafficking.

    Since your last meeting, large movements of vulnerable refugees and migrants, driven out by conflict, continue to be exploited by traffickers.

    We were all outraged by images showing that criminals are operating slave markets in Libya where people are sold like commodities. I join the Secretary-General in condemning these appalling acts, and take note of the assurances given by the Libyan government that this case is being investigated.

    Our collective horror at this news serves an important purpose: it can quicken the pace of our actions, and encourage a global partnership against human trafficking.

    As part of our concrete response, UNODC is prepared to help:

    •           Strengthen Libyan law enforcement capacities to investigate and prosecute the criminals; 

    •           Align national laws to the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, and its protocols on Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants;

    •           Build partnerships among states in the region against this crime; and

    •           Improve the capacity of law enforcement authorities of Libya, and other countries, to investigate the finances flowing from these crimes.

    In more general terms, the widespread and systematic violations of people's fundamental rights in mass movements continue to be a cause for grave concern.

    As the Secretary-General mentioned, Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, ISIL, and other terrorist groups are exploiting young boys and girls as sexual slaves or soldiers.

    Thanks to the Security Council's efforts, and the UN System's work, including the General Assembly's review of the Global Plan of Action in September, there is forward momentum against this crime. 

    The international community's resolve needs to be translated into action across all regional processes and initiatives. 

    Such efforts are firmly rooted in international law. The Palermo Convention, and its protocols, provide this solid legal foundation.

    I encourage parties to these treaties to strengthen international cooperation; develop comprehensive legislation; and ensure that no offender escapes justice.

    Early warning and early-screening initiatives must be used proactively, while offering victims, especially women and children, protection and affording them the assistance to which they are entitled. 

    UNODC's response to Resolution 2331 has been extensive, including help to disrupt and dismantle networks, and tackle connected crimes such as money-laundering and corruption.

    We have designed tools for UN bodies in conflict situations; enhanced data collection processes; engaged in developing training of police officers seconded to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations; assisted victims under the umbrella of the UN Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking; and helped states to implement the Trafficking in Persons Protocol; among many other actions.

    I welcome the recent contributions of Italy, and other states, to the Trust Fund, and call on everyone to follow their example.

    Among the UN family greater coordination is needed, and the Interagency Coordinating Group (ICAT) can help achieve this goal, as recently acknowledged by the GA.

    UNODC is considering to convene a meeting at the principals' level in 2018, to give new impetus to the joint work and efforts of ICAT partner members.

    UNODC stands ready to provide further briefings to the Council on the implementation of the Resolution to be adopted later today, and to work closely with you to end this heinous crime.

    * *** *

    For further information, please contact:

    David Dadge
    Spokesperson, UNODC
    Phone: (+43 1) 26060-5629
    Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-5629
    Email: david.dadge[at]