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UNODC Statement for the Co-facilitators’ Virtual Townhall With Stakeholders and UN Entities

7 March 2022

Thank you, Ambassadors, and congratulations again your appointment as co-facilitators.

On behalf of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, thank you for setting a clear plan for action for the coming months.

As well as a member of the Network Executive Committee, UNODC is the guardian of the fundamental international legal instruments on trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols, which, over 20 years, have become an almost universally ratified basis for preventing these crimes, prosecuting perpetrators, protecting the victims and promoting cooperation.

Those crimes are purely profit-driven. Criminals treat trafficking victims and smuggled migrants as commodities, they subject them to incredible suffering and risks.

As the co-lead with IOM of the IMRF roundtable 2, we reiterate previous calls by multiple stakeholders on the importance of the Progress Declaration addressing forms of organized crime in the context of migration, particularly human trafficking and migrant smuggling, which endanger the life, dignity and rights of people on the move.

It is particularly important to draw links between these crimes and the availability of pathways for regular migration.

Regular migration increases the protection of migrants and their rights, including migrants in situations of vulnerability, and ensuring such should be part of the response to any crisis, including the current COVID-19 pandemic. The availability of regular pathways renders most smuggling services redundant, and reduces the risk of exploitation of migrants while on the move or at their destination. The added value of regularizing migration flows for governments is that, beyond preventing crime, criminal abuse and exploitation, they can better manage their borders and access to their territory.

Reinforcing and complementing the pledges made under the 2030 Agenda, the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration affirmed the commitment of Member States to tackling the smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons as part of a comprehensive strategy to regulate international migration to the benefit of all. Among other commitments, it is imperative to enhance States’ capacity to identify, protect and assist victims of trafficking as well as smuggled migrants, with particular consideration of the special needs of women and children, and assisting in particular those migrants subjected to smuggling under aggravating circumstances, in accordance with international law.

UNODC remains committed to coordinated international efforts to address migrant smuggling as well as trafficking in persons in the context of international migration, including through the forthcoming International Migration Review Forum. We also look forward to working with you and provide all necessary support to the Progress Declaration.



This “Eyes on Trafficking” story is reprinted from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.


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