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Security Council – Meeting in Arria Formula on “Trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation in (post-) conflict situations: integrating a comprehensive approach to trafficking in persons into the Women, Peace and Security agenda of the Security Council”

Statement delivered by Ambassador Stefano Stefanile, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the Security Council meeting in Arria-formula on “Trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation in (post-) conflict situations: integrating a comprehensive approach to trafficking in persons into the Women, Peace and Security agenda of the Security Council” —

Thank you, Mr. Chair,

In the same spirit that led us to build the international momentum towards the Palermo Protocol, Italy stands on the front line of the fight against trafficking in persons and the protection of human rights, also by acting on a daily basis in the Mediterranean Sea.

As we can see also from our experience, women and girls are especially vulnerable in this regard, and trafficking is often used in situations of conflict for the purpose of sexual violence or exploitation. The initiative to discuss trafficking in the context of the WPS agenda within the Security Council is therefore commendable and should be, in our view, further developed in the future.

We need to protect women and girls from violence, and to do so we must scale up our engagement in the fight against sexual violence in conflict, also engaging with the civil society organizations and the Women Human Rights Defenders.

The response by the States should be based on a common understanding of trafficking in persons, and a widely accepted legal framework. Therefore we support the universal ratification and implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the related Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons.

We should take into due consideration the links between transnational organized crime, terrorism and trafficking networks and the role trafficking in human beings plays in recruiting activities as well as in ensuring major funding source for terrorists’ illicit operations.
We should insist on a comprehensive approach aimed at addressing high risk factors such as poverty, unemployment, inequality, social exclusion and marginalization.

These considerations prompted Italy to include the issue of trafficking of persons in conflict situations among the priorities of its mandate on the Security Council in 2017. Our efforts resulted in a unanimous adoption by the Council of Resolution 2388 on combating trafficking and smuggling in persons, which was co-sponsored by 56 Member States.

This Resolutionemphasizes the urgency to strengthen protection and assistance for displaced persons falling prey of trafficking, especially women and children. It also endorses the comprehensive approach to make the UN system’s action more effective and coherent and, to this end, includes important recommendations to peacekeeping and special political missions in order to support host States in preventing and combating trafficking. These provisions were complemented by the call for adequate and timely training in favor of deployed personnel and training of peacekeepers on issues related to human rights, sexual abuse and exploitation, on gender parity and the Women Peace and Security Agenda, is indeed crucial in this perspective.

We all need to make additional efforts, in a spirit of shared responsibility, to prevent and counter the scourge of trafficking in persons, to assist the victims and provide them with new opportunities to rebuild their lives. In this spirit, we contributed to the “United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons,”, and we encourage all member states to do so.

I thank you.