Statement by IOM UN Office Director Mr. Ashraf EL Nour at 8111th Security Council meeting (21 November 2017) on Maintenance of international peace and security: Trafficking of persons in conflict situations

Published Date: 
Monday, November 27, 2017


Director of the IOM Office to the United Nations in New York

Security Council Open Debate

“Maintenance of international peace and security: Trafficking in persons in conflict situations”


New York ● 21 November 2017



Mr. President,


I’m pleased to take the floor on behalf of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and I would like to first thank Italy and the Security Council for convening this important Open Debate;


  • IOM welcomes the increased attention the international community is giving to human trafficking, and particularly the recent focus on the phenomenon of human trafficking in conflict situations. IOM believes that the crime of human trafficking remains largely overlooked in emergency situations despite growing evidence on existing interconnections between human trafficking and armed conflicts.


  • We know that this open debate is happening at a time of unprecedented global mobility, record high population displacement and multiple complex and protracted crises, which are taking place simultaneously and putting more and more vulnerable people at the risk of human trafficking;


  • We are concerned that the rights of many migrants continue to be violated during potentially fatal journeys. We have seen and learnt from first-hand experience that situations of armed conflicts, natural disasters and protracted humanitarian crises can create conditions conducive for human trafficking.


With that in mind, I would like to highlight three areas where, from IOM’s perspective, a more concerted effort and coordinated action is required:


  • Firstly, while legal 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. Recent studies by IOM and ILO have also shown the impact of armed conflict on trafficking, child recruitment and forced labor. Efforts should therefore be made to reduce the demand for goods and services produced by trafficked persons and exploited migrants. This requires concrete measures to encourage, assist, or obligate companies to establish decent working conditions for all employees in their supply chains;


  • Second, despite progress in protecting those identified as victims of trafficking, the number of people benefiting from protection schemes remains small. 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. This should 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. 


  • Thirdly, and finally, more understanding of human trafficking is needed to learn from and draw on the experience and expertise acquired by the anti-trafficking community to date. We need to work towards greater collection, standardization and analysis of data. We need to find ways to overcome obstacles around sharing trafficking data – within a framework of strict confidentiality and protection of data privacy. This can be achieved through multi-stakeholder, open-data publishing platforms, such as IOM’s Counter-trafficking Data Collaborative.

Mr. President,

Finally, IOM welcomes the remarks on Monday of the UN Secretary General on Libya.  IOM Director General in a press release today called for a number of suggested concrete actions to be considered. The smugglers business models are at the core of this human episode, and IOM is working with local authorities to disrupt smuggling networks and provide assistance to victims. Since 2015, IOM has provided voluntarily return assistance to some 13000 migrants who have left Libya and returned to 30 countries. 

IOM strongly supports the Council’s efforts to eliminate human trafficking in conflict situations and call on the Council to take into account the humanitarian dimension of crisis-induced human trafficking. IOM stands ready to support.

Thank you.

Webcast of Event available at UNTV here. Ashraf's intervention begins at 2hr and 17min.