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Statement by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus Valentin Rybakov on Panel discussion How to Implement SDG 16.2: End Abuse, Exploitation, Trafficking and all Forms of Violence and Torture against Children


Distinguished panelists and participants,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I was asked to intervene on behalf of the Group of Friends United against Human Trafficking, composed by 24 countries.

At the onset, we would like to express our gratitude to the organisers of this important event.

Trafficking in persons is an abominable crime and one of the serious transborder threats to human security and development.

Despite the efforts of the international community to combat this heinous crime, it still persists. Moreover, we see an increase in the number of detected child victims, particularly, girls under 18.

According to the UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2014, globally children now comprise nearly one third of all detected trafficking victims, which is a 5 per cent increase compared to the 2007-2010 period.

Most detected victims of trafficking are subjected to sexual exploitation. A third of all detected victims are children. In addition, some forms of trafficking for exploitations, such as trafficking of children for armed combat, or for petty crime or forced begging, are also emerging.

The Agenda for Sustainable Development contains references to trafficking in persons as part of broader development aims. The three SDGs 8.7, 5.2 and 16.2 are about the topic of our discussion. The links between the two issues are evident. Poverty and inequality within and among countries are primary root causes that make people vulnerable to trafficking. Combating poverty and reduction of inequality are the essence of development efforts.

It is important to recall that at the United Nations, we have plenty of useful documents at our disposal to guide us in our efforts to combat trafficking in persons. The UN Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in persons is one of them which cultivated the first ever partnership in the UN among all stakeholders: Member States, UN agencies and other international organisations, the private sector, civil society and mass media.

Another important UN umbrella coordination mechanism against trafficking is ICAT, the Inter-Agency Coordination Group Against Trafficking in Persons. ICAT is composed of 16 UN Agency members and it is mandated by the UNGA to improve coordination and cooperation between UN agencies and other international organizations to facilitate a holistic approach in preventing and combating trafficking in persons. ICAT has an important platform to implement SDGs indicators related to Trafficking in Persons.

For a successful solution of the heinous crime we need to galvanise the global approach in combating this scourge and increase our concerted efforts. To this end we need to revive the existing UN legal framework, as well as define the major gaps or constraints in the fight against trafficking in persons and modern slavery.

We believe that the Global Plan of Action has the potential to enhance effective implementation of all existing anti-trafficking instruments. Putting it into action will be a tangible contribution to the implementation of the SDGs in a coherent and genuinely comprehensive manner. The Global Plan should unite the efforts of the international community in a balanced and inclusive framework.

In this connection, we would like to draw your attention to the recent decision of the 70th General Assembly session to have in 2017 an appraisal of the progress achieved in the implementation of the Global Plan of Action and other instruments regarding human trafficking. By that decision the General Assembly invited all Member States, the UN agencies, international organisations and other stakeholders to contribute to its preparation in order to strengthen the ways the international community addresses this grave problem in the context of the implementation of the new Agenda for Sustainable Development. We should regard the Agenda pertaining to trafficking in persons in its entirety, if we want to succeed. What we see now: in our initiatives we follow a  compartmentalized approach.

Finally, allow us to underline the crucial role of partnership among all stakeholders in tackling human trafficking. Forging partnerships will enable us to synergise all relevant initiatives.

The Group of Friends reiterates its readiness to work together with all stakeholders.

I thank you for attention.

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