I wish to thank the Mission of Belarus, the Group of Friends United against Human Trafficking and UNODC for convening this successful debate. My appreciation goes to the distinguished panelists, who contributed to approaching trafficking as a global and multidimensional phenomenon.
Due to its geographical position in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy is a natural bridge between continents, a bridge that thousands and millions of women and men have crossed over the centuries.
Italy maintains constant dialogue with the countries across the Mediterranean basin – exchanging goods, knowledge and culture; investing resources; providing infrastructure and training; and, when requested, capacity building, and funding of international agencies and projects.
These activities have been just described in detail, but I wish to underscore one particular fact.
In the past years, due to causes that have been clearly illustrated by the panelists, we have been witnessing unprecedented migration flows –devastating in terms of numbers, conditions, sufferings and casualties.
The need to save human lives and to protect the most vulnerable has never been as urgent and mandatory as it is today.
But we must confess that saving lives is not enough, and any plan to address the root causes of migration and trafficking must go hand in hand with coordinated policies combating all forms of illegal exploitation of migrants and illegal migration.
In this regard, Italy has developed specific policies and procedures to tackle criminal activities and organizations within the framework of the Palermo Convention and its Protocols and in keeping with relevant international instruments, including the dedicated Global Action Plan of 2010.
New procedures have been designed and developed by integrating a number of fields, mainly: intelligence activities in Italy and abroad; the support of civil society organizations; timely and standardized intervention of law enforcement agencies in coordination with the Navy, Coast Guard and with relevant prosecution and judicial offices. The evolution of domestic legislation and international cooperation have supported such efforts leading to a significant number of investigations and prosecutions; moreover, some criminal networks have been partially dismantled.
Just two days ago, for the first time in our Country, a criminal court has sentenced to prison persons charged with crimes directly related to trafficking in persons in particular crimes of conspiracy being part of international, criminal organizations.
This should encourage the international community to:
• access and fully implement the Palermo Convention and its Protocols;
• harmonize domestic legislation,
• support international cooperation and integrate with UN dedicated boties;
• provide dedicated training for law enforcement and judicial authorities;
• invest in the protection of migrant witnesses and
• finally assisting victims.
In conclusion, Italy commits itself to sharing experiences and best practices and to participate in all projects and programmes that can strengthen the international response to trafficking in all of its forms.