Statement delivered by Ambassador Stefano Stefanile, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the Event for the presentation of the “2020 UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons” —
Thank you and well done to UNODC for organizing the launch of this Global Report also from New York, after the presentation made a couple of days ago in Vienna. I think it is important to keep synchrony and also the synergy between Vienna and New York on both data analysis and policies coordination.
As highlighted in the introductory remarks as well as in the UNODC presentation, this latest Report confirms the dramatic impact of trafficking in persons. First of all, 50.000 victims detected and reported represent an unacceptable toll in terms of human exploitation and human suffering. And we know that this figure might be potentially much higher, due to the hidden nature of this crime.
But what strikes even more is the heinous forms that this crime may assume and the fact that it continues to hit particularly the most vulnerable, the most marginalized and the most impoverished. And the data of the Report does not show yet the impact of the pandemic, but we already heard that this could further increase the risk of being exposed to human trafficking.
This clearly indicates that we have to increase our efforts in terms of effective implementation of the Protocol on Trafficking in Persons that supplements the Palermo Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. Our view is that over the last twenty years, the Protocol has had many merits. Among these, it provided for an internationally agreed definition of trafficking for the purpose of exploitation and it also filled some critical gaps in pre-existing international instruments. From a broader point of view it contributed to drastically increase the awareness of the phenomenon and to elevate national and international efforts to tackle it. And the fact that the Report shows that there has been a nearly three times increase since 2003, in the number of convicted traffickers clearly indicates that there have been some positive effects in that regard.
However, this is clearly not enough. The Report shows that further efforts are needed on two fronts: it is clear that we need to do more in terms of information sharing, intelligence and law enforcement, but we also need to do more on the side of social protection and attention to the victims’ human rights. We cannot look at this only as a criminal issue, but also as an issue of social justice and human rights protection.
The role of Governments and of international organizations and Institutions such as UNODC , is key, and remains key, but civil society and the private sector must be onboard as well and this in another important point to keep into consideration.
So we have to combine all these factors and take them in due consideration in view of the High-level meeting that will be held by the end of this year in the General Assembly and will discuss, the progress achieved in the implementation of the UN Global Plan of Action.
Some final words on what we are trying to do on a national basis. We look at the fight of all forms of trafficking as one of our main priorities. Our law enforcement and criminal justice institutions are fully committed to investigating these crimes, as demonstrated by the upward trend in trafficking-related cases that is mentioned in the Report. This is being done through special investigative techniques and particular attention is being devoted to two things, tackling illicit labor mediation, especially in the agricultural sector, and trying to identify and assist unaccompanied minor migrants, who may be as we know particularly exposed to trafficking.
At the same time, we are paying attention also to the second tier that I was mentioning earlier, that is the human rights-based, gender and age-sensitive approach in addressing all factors that make people more vulnerable to trafficking in persons. We have a national plan in place, an anti-trafficking fund also in operation, which is complemented by social assistance programs in support of the victims.
We will continue to promote due attention to trafficking in persons also in the context of the annual resolution on crime prevention and criminal justice that we regularly submit, with the appreciated technical assistance of UNODC, to the Third Committee and then to the General Assembly.
Thank you very much.