High-level Meeting on the Appraisal of the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons

Published Date: 
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Kieran Gorman-Best





At the High-level Meeting on the Appraisal of the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons

27-28 September 2017


Mr. President, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

  1. IOM, the International Organization for Migration, welcomes the progress made, and supports the way forward, on the implementation of the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons. IOM has been playing an active role in combatting trafficking in persons for the last three decades. We fully support the Global Plan of Action and commend the Member States for adopting the Political Declaration.
  2. The Global Plan of Action is being reviewed at a time of unprecedented global mobility, with 244 million international migrants. At the same time, the world is responding to multiple complex and protracted crises, with over 65 million forcibly displaced, and of those 40 million uprooted within the borders of their own countries. We know that the rights of too many migrants continue to be violated during their journeys. We have also learnt from first-hand experience that large-scale displacement caused by humanitarian crises such as armed conflicts, natural disasters, and protracted unrest can also create situations in which people become vulnerable to trafficking.
  3. With this in mind, I would like to highlight three areas where, from IOM’s perspective, a more concerted effort is required:
  4. Firstly, while protection frameworks for victims of trafficking have been strengthened in recent years, less progress has been made in preventing human trafficking from occurring in the first place. The demand for cheap goods and sexual services is what drives trafficking.
  5. Efforts should therefore be made to reduce the demand for goods and services produced by trafficked persons and exploited migrants. This requires the engagement of those creating the demand, namely consumers and businesses. Concrete measures include efforts to encourage, assist, or obligate companies to establish decent working conditions for all employees in their supply chains.
  6. Second, despite progress in creating legal frameworks that better protect those identified as victims of trafficking, the number of people benefiting from these protection schemes remains small when compared to the estimated millions who continue to be trafficked.
  7. To address this, it is important to increase governments’ and civil society’s capacity to identify and assist all migrants in vulnerable situations, including victims of trafficking.
  8. Efforts should also target high-risk locations like border crossing points, as well as sectors and industries where the risk of trafficking is high, and where effective responses are urgently required. It is also essential to ensure that anti-trafficking measures are systematically included during all phases of humanitarian action, including in response to conflict and disasters.
  9. Thirdly, and finally, more investment is needed to learn from anti-trafficking interventions, and to draw on the experience and expertise acquired by the anti-trafficking community and others to date to inform anti-trafficking responses.
  10. We need to work towards greater collection, standardization and sharing of trafficking data. We need to find ways to overcome obstacles around sharing data – within a framework of strict confidentiality and appropriate safeguards to protect individuals’ personal data. This can be achieved through multi-stakeholder, open-data publishing platforms, such as IOM’s Counter-trafficking Data Collaborative, which will be launched next month.
  11. Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, in conclusion, the appraisal of the Global Plan of Action is an excellent opportunity to reinvigorate our collective efforts.
  12. Let me close by reiterating IOM’s deep commitment to continue working with Member States and our partners, including within the ICAT, to eradicate human trafficking within the overall context of facilitating safe, regular and orderly migration for the benefit of all.
  13. I thank you.