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Assemblea Generale – Meeting di Alto Livello

Discorso pronunciato dall’Ambasciatore Sebastiano Cardi, Rappresentante Permanente dell’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite, al Meeting di Alto Livello dell’Assemblea Generale sulla Valutazione del Piano Globale ONU per combattere il Traffico di Persone —

Italy aligns itself to the statement delivered by the European Union and intends to contribute to the debate introducing few specific points.

The political statement that was approved today summarizes the developments in the Global Plan of Action launched by resolution GA 64/293 and the challenges that Member States and international and national stakeholders are facing.

The high-level debate held on June 19 in the General Assembly to commemorate Judge Giovanni Falcone forged a broad consensus on the central role of the Palermo Convention and the Protocols thereto, including the one dedicated to trafficking in persons, and renewed the commitment of Member States to implement it through a strengthening of international cooperation and a coordinated fight against organized criminal phenomena.

I do not intend to summarize the complex issues before us, starting with addressing the social and economic causes that foster human trafficking in all its forms. I will instead limit myself to underlining two aspects: the need to focus greater attention on the victims; and the need to adopt at the national level more effective countering measures.

With regard to the victims of the various forms of trafficking in persons, we agree with the contents of the political declaration we have adopted. We must be fully aware of the awful conditions in which these persons spend long periods of their lives and the physical and psychological violence they suffer. This is why we must guarantee assistance to them and prevent them from becoming victims twice-over through indictments for unlawful conduct in which they were forced to engage. We must make their right to receive justice a reality. We must help them to overcome trauma and to live in dignity.

By law 47 of April 7, 2017, the Italian Parliament addressed a growing phenomenon in our Country, the arrival point of tens of thousands of undocumented migrants: the protection of unaccompanied minors. The new law harmonizes existing legislation, and activates additional resources and identifies protocols and procedures to follow that are tailored to the specific needs of minors without families on our territory.

In a broader sense, it has become quite clear by now that in providing a response for victims of trafficking the national authorities must work in a consistent and coordinated manner, to prevent the action of one agency from moving in an opposite direction from the others. Equally important is coordination at the level of the bodies of the UN and international institutions. And here we wish to acknowledge the efforts made and results achieved by ICAT and UNODC.

All this requires a clear political will and adequate resources. Italy has decided to contribute to the Trust Fund for the victims of trafficking . . . with the sum on one million dollars.

On the second aspect, allow me to mention first of all resolution 71/209 on crime prevention and criminal justice adopted by the GA in December 2016 and facilitated by our Country. In particular, this resolution invites all States to create national contact points and central authorities able to foster and render more effective both investigative cooperation and mutual legal assistance between different Countries. Unfortunately contact points and central authorities are not present in many national realities, but they can play a fundamental role also at the domestic level, facilitating information exchange and collaboration between different national administrations called upon to address phenomena connected to trafficking in persons.

Italy is committed to fighting international and domestic groups that engage in human trafficking. The growing number of investigations and convictions for such crimes show that much can be done to this end. But it is precisely the action of Italian prosecutors and judges that has brought to light the limits of international cooperation and the need for all Countries to develop adequate legislation and effective trans-border institutions.

We are deeply convinced of the importance of the presence of these national coordination bodies. On May 18 we organized in the Security Council a debate on the central authorities aimed at promoting full implementation of the similar provision contained in resolution 2322, adopted by the Security Council in December 2016. In this forum we presented the work done by the National Anti-Mafia and Anti-Terrorism Directorate in coordinating investigations targeting transnational crimes within the arena of organized crime and terrorism.

In conclusion, every victim of trafficking represents a world that we must protect and every action against trafficking in persons must belong to a coherent project. These are the two sides of a hugely-complex phenomenon that we must all address together. I am sure that the high-level debate underway and the initiatives alongside it will make an important contribution in this direction.

I thank you, Mr. President.