Statement by Ambassador Schulz in the UN Security Council Ministerial Open Debate on "Trafficking in persons in conflict situations: forced labour, slavery and other similar practices”
I align myself with the statement delivered by the European Union. I would like to thank the United Kingdom for continuing the momentum of the previous debate held last December at the initiative of Spain. Let me also thank today’s briefers for their presentations. They have painted a shocking picture of the current situation.
Armed conflicts, terrorism and humanitarian crises have exposed individuals to increased risks of being trafficked, in conflict zones and beyond. Women and children are particularly vulnerable to this risk: they make up 79% of all detected trafficking victims.
In response to the scourge of trafficking, we must find answers as multifaceted as the terrible crime itself.
At the international level, we need to:
- aim for universal ratification of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols, in particular the Protocol against Migrant Smuggling, and
- ensure that we collect the data needed to fully understand the challenges, such as by developing a comprehensive data collection system.
We must follow a comprehensive, multidisciplinary and cross-border approach, increase synergies among UN agencies and develop a comprehensive joint UN response that includes the SRSGs on Sexual Violence in Conflict and on Children and Armed Conflict. The UN Interagency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons (ICAT) is one important instrument for such coordination.
We should apprise the Security Council of the link between human trafficking and human rights violations, and support the Council´s ability to look into the connections to transnational organized crime and terrorism.
Furthermore, we should use the upcoming review process of the Global Plan of Action on Trafficking and its High-level Meeting in October to define appropriate responses to current challenges and discuss measures to implement trafficking-related SDGs.
In addition, we must go after the proceeds from human trafficking and ensure accountability. We welcome the Monitoring Team’s mandate to investigate the cross-cutting issue of human trafficking in its threat assessments.
At the national level,
Germany has taken additional steps to address the growing challenges from the recent large refugee and migrant movements. We know that resettlement and relocation programs can reduce the risk of vulnerable persons’ falling victim to greedy traffickers. With this in mind, we adopted new legal measures to provide trafficking victims with residence permits. As one example, I would like to mention our program through which over one thousand Yazidi refugees reached Germany, including Ms. Nadia Murad Basee Taha, UN Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking.
We also started an initiative with UNICEF and multiple national partners to protect those staying in refugee accommodations – in particular women and children – from violence, including trafficking. As part of the initiative, minimum standards for protection were published in 2016. Specially trained coordinators will help implement these standards in up to 100 refugee accommodations until the end of 2017.
On a more general note, in 2016, we passed legislation to strengthen the protection of women and children. Among other measures, we adopted new criminal law provisions. Our standing task force on human trafficking – in which the German Federal Government and States work together – is constantly working on concrete measures such as victims’ protection and training programs for law enforcement officers.
To conclude my statement, I would like to reiterate how important it is for us all to work together and step up our efforts to address conflict and instability because they represent the key push factors for migration and human trafficking.