Discorso pronunciato dal Sottosegretario di Stato agli Affari Esteri e alla Cooperazione Internazionale, Benedetto Della Vedova, al Meeting di Alto Livello dell’Assemblea Generale sull’aggiornamento del Piano ONU di Azione Globale per contrastare il traffico di persone —
Italy welcomes this High Level meeting on the appraisal of the Global Plan of Action to combat trafficking in person as well as the adoption of the related Political Declaration.
While we align ourselves with the statement of the European Union, we would like to add some remarks in our national capacity.
We value this meeting as an important occasion to assess our achievements, to acknowledge existing gaps and to identify continuous and evolving challenges, including the implementation of relevant legal instruments. What is happening at the Polish-Belarus border is the latest example of how immigrants can be used by States in a cynical and manipulative way, as well as mercilessly underlying the limits and weaknesses of the tools at our disposal for responding in an effective manner.
More than 20 years have passed since the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime opened for signature in Palermo, together with two of its three Protocols. The first of these Protocols was the one on the Trafficking in Persons, which has provided member States with the necessary legal frameworks to define, criminalize, and prevent this appalling phenomenon.
If we are today more aware of this phenomenon, and more prepared to counter it, it is notably thanks to the Protocol. All the more reason for Member States to fully engage in the Review Mechanism of the Palermo Convention and its Protocols.
Notwithstanding the ongoing international efforts, trafficking in persons continues to be a terrible scourge, which may assume different forms, thus making it more difficult to detect. Modern day slavery remains a persistent and growing threat to human rights around the globe. Sex trafficking victims continue to represent the majority of victims of trafficking, while an increasing share of detected victims are trafficked for forced labor.
COVID-19 has exacerbated the conditions that put individuals at risk of falling prey of traffickers. The most vulnerable, the most marginalized and the most impoverished are especially exposed: women, girls, increasingly also boys, children in general, irregular migrants, domestic workers.
Italy recognizes the additional risks of human trafficking and exploitation along migration routes and is fully committed to preventing and countering it. In this regard, Italy is proud to have contributed over the years, within the framework of the OSCE, to organize a series of simulated-based exercises to improve the capacities of origin, transit and destination countries in detecting the phenomenon, prosecuting perpetrators and protecting the victims.
Italy is also devoting special attention, inter alia, to tackling illicit labor mediation, especially in the agricultural sector, to reduce the risk of forced labor, as well as to identify and assist unaccompanied minor migrants.
At the same time, there is a strong commitment by the Italian Authorities, in cooperation with civil society to promote a human rights-based, gender and age-sensitive approach.
Rest assured that the UN Global Plan of Action will continue to drive Italy’s efforts in this domain.
I thank you.