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EU at the UN

The EU's commitment to effective multilateralism, with the UN at its core, is a central element of its external action. As a UN observer with enhanced status, the EU delegation coordinates with its 28 Member States to speak with one voice. The EU also works closely with the UN secretariat and its agencies, funds & programmes, partnering on a range of global issues and challenges.

Interactive Panel Discussion I: Protecting the Victims of Trafficking: Partnerships and Innovation 

  • Thank you H.E. Mr. Cabactulan and H.E. Mr. Cabral for giving me the floor to speak on behalf of the EU and its Member States,
  • We welcome the holding of today’s interactive dialogue on human trafficking and commend the great commitment of the PGA and UNSG as well as of all the other high-level participants to combating human trafficking, one of the most shameful crimes of our time.
  • Given our strong determination to fight human trafficking and our many contributions to both its prevention and the protection of victims, we support today’s discussion. We hope it will contribute to raise more awareness and strengthen the political will to improve the situation of the victims, particularly women and children.
  • In the same vein, we are pleased by the attention the General Assembly has dedicated to this subject by adopting the Global Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons in 2010. It strongly expressed our common determination to fight human trafficking and represents an important tool to mobilize broad support for this cause.
  • The international community has created suitable legally-binding instruments to tackle human trafficking – the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols thereto, in particular the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children. We urge all Member States that have not yet done so to ratify or accede to these instruments and to implement them fully and effectively, for instance through legislation and other means based on obligations derived from international legal instruments. On a regional level, the Council of Europe adopted the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, which entered into force in 2008.
  • Universal adherence to and improved implementation of other existing international instruments – including the conventions on forced labor, human rights, and the protection of women and children, would also contribute to eradicate human trafficking.
  • The work against human trafficking carried out in Vienna by the Conference of States Parties to the Palermo Convention and UNODC is of the utmost importance. We believe that action by these mechanisms and bodies best serve our common commitment to combating the crime of human trafficking. We also acknowledge the work of mandate holders that relates to human trafficking, particularly the Special Rapporteurs on contemporary forms of slavery, on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, and on violence against women, and call on all States to cooperate effectively with these special procedures.
  • In 2010, the EU upgraded its political commitment to the fight against trafficking and appointed an EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator. This new coordinator prepares an integrated strategy on trafficking in human beings that will be issued in 2012 and the establishment of a priority list of countries to cooperate and work with the EU.
  • It is in this regard important that all aspects of our policy – prevention, protection of victims, prosecution of offenders and cooperation with partners – are incorporated in trafficking in human beings related projects with third countries. The envisaged actions should contribute to obtaining more analytical and quantitative knowledge about human trafficking in the world and in targeted regions. Reliable data on trafficking is crucial in order to understand the dimensions of the phenomenon and to formulate properly targeted initiatives. With this in mind, in 2011 the European Commission has initiated a data collection exercise. An analysis will be most likely published this year.
  • Moreover, the EU adopted new legislation in 2011 on prevention and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims which should be implemented by April 2013. This legislation adopts an integrated, holistic, victim centered approach and a broader concept of trafficking, considering both gender aspects and the child’s best interests.
  • The fight against all forms of gender-based violence is also an integral part of the Strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015. Moreover, the fight against child trafficking is included in the EU strategy on the rights of the child. In order to step up awareness-raising, the EU has established an integrated and an object designated anti-trafficking website.
  • Given the often trans-national nature of the crime, international cooperation and coordination is of utmost importance to address trafficking in human beings, especially women and children. We are also convinced that regional cooperation is essential and a crucial complement to international cooperation.
  • Moreover, we concur that a multifaceted approach is needed to address the factors that increase the vulnerability of persons to human trafficking and value innovative partnerships, including with civil society actors. We look forward to building new strategic partnerships, for instance with UN Women, to enhance the effective prevention, support and protection victims of violence, including the fight against domestic violence, and their access to services and to justice. 

Interactive Panel Discussion II: Assistance to the Victims of Trafficking: the Role of Governments, International Organizations, Private Sector and Civil Society


  • Thank you H.E. Mr. Lima and H.E. Ms. Lucas for giving me the floor to speak on behalf of the EU and its Member States,
  • The EU and its Member States welcome this afternoon’s discussion on the assistance to the victims of Trafficking and its special focus on effective remedies to victims and their treatment.
  • We wish to emphasize the importance of combating demand and addressing also the structural causes that make people vulnerable to trafficking. Good governance and accountable state institutions as well as policies that foster education, employment opportunities, the diversification of rural incomes and sustainable development are part of a multifaceted strategy just as socially responsible activities of private business actors. Moreover, civil society can play a crucial role in providing information and services to victims specifically on a long term assistance. 
  • We consider that a human rights and a gender-centred approach when addressing trafficking in human beings is crucial. Indeed, trafficking has strong gender dimension. Vulnerability to recruitment into trafficking is shaped by gender and the relative value and roles a society attaches to a particular gender. Women and men, boys and girls can all become victims of trafficking. However being trafficked affects them in different ways and to differing degrees. Also they tend to be trafficked into different forms of exploitation. We recall that one of the main purposes of the Trafficking Protocol to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime is, according to its article 2, “To protect and assist the victims of such trafficking, with full respect for their human rights”. We also accord great importance to the role and mandates of the Special Rapporteur and other mandate holders in highlighting the ongoing issues related to human trafficking, especially of women and children.
  • An entire Chapter of the said Protocol is dedicated to the assistance to and protection for the victims of trafficking. It provides a wide array of protective measures ranging from physical, psychological and social recovery, to appropriate housing, medical and material assistance, employment, educational and training opportunities.
  • Given the priority of these issues for the EU, we lend practical support to efforts to address human trafficking. Indeed, funding programmes in areas ranging from migration to gender equality to employment to development cooperation support initiatives relevant to trafficking in human beings. For example, the Daphne III Programme which supports activities to prevent and combat violence against children, young people and women and to protect victims and groups at risk explicitly targets sexual exploitation and trafficking of human beings.
  • The EU contributes to the work of the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking, which builds capacity and enhances operation cooperation between law enforcement, judiciary and victim service providers, with a strong emphasis on direct victim assistance.
  • We acknowledge the importance of providing humanitarian, legal and financial aid to victims of trafficking in persons through established channels of assistance as well as through the Voluntary UN Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking which operates as subsidiary fund of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Fund in Vienna. 
  • The EU financially supports UNODC projects and programmes focused on Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smugglings of Migrants. The EU is one of the most important donors in this area.  
  • We also supports the important role of the IOM in this subject matter, in particular its activities to prevent and react to human trafficking across the world and to assist with safe return and reintegration into society.
  • In closing, we would like to underline the importance of raising awareness among and mobilizing actions by governments, private actors and civil society as part of a comprehensive approach to prevent the heinous crime human trafficking and to protect its victims and assist them to live a life in freedom and dignity. 

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