Statement of NGO Alliance at the 8th UNTOC Conference of Parties

19 October 2016.

Statement of the Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice on item 2 (b). Trafficking in Persons Protocol during the Eighth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations against Transnational Organized Crime.

On behalf of the Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women, Soroptimist International, the Academic Council on the UN System, the International Federation on Business and Professional Women, ZONTA International, the International Council of Women, The Congregation of our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, La Strada International, the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Tapestri USA, CoMensha Netherlands, La Strada CZ, LEFÖ Counselling, Support and Education for Migrant Women/ Austria and Legal Support for Children and Women – Cambodia and ASTRA Serbia.

We appreciate the statements of G 77, of the African Union, the EU Statement and the statement of Mr. Fedotov, UNODC Executive Director, regarding the crucial involvement of civil society organizations, including NGOs in the implementation of the UNTOC Convention and its protocols. We strongly support the Italian and French draft resolution L5 on a Review Mechanism.

We remain strongly committed to eradicate trafficking in human beings, a transnational crime requiring a transnational response. We also call for a more gender-sensitive approach, as women and girls are an overwhelming majority of the victims.

We applaud the efforts of member states to deal with the contemporary forms of human trafficking by the adoption of legislation against child brides, femicide, labor exploitation and trafficking in organs.

In order to deal effectively with traditional and contemporary forms of human trafficking it is essential to have a review mechanism in place. Such a mechanism requires a multi-stakeholder approach and necessarily includes civil society actors. CSOs including NGOs are recognized as actors in the Trafficking in Persons Protocol as well as active participants in both the UN human rights and criminal justice forums.

The recent adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development presents an opportunity to review national and international efforts in combating human trafficking in all its forms. The Sustainable Development Goals identify three targets and one indicator which explicitly address these issues:

  • 5.2 to eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation;
  • 8.7 to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery, and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor.
  • 16.2 to end child abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and all forms of violence and torture against children.

NGOs are vital to provide a victim´s perspective as a part of the human rights based approach, bearing in mind that research has shown that anti-trafficking initiatives almost never seek input from the intended beneficiaries of this work, the survivors of trafficking. We need an inclusive process that would seek to learn from survivors and their advocates to ensure accountability and improve anti-trafficking initiatives.

We look forward to working with you in a “participatory, collaborative and integrated approach” so that all existing expertise can be utilized – expertise that is not just located in State institutions. Independent experts, academics, NGOs and civil society bodies, have original research, analyses and direct experience – of crimes covered by the UNTOC and its Protocols. Evaluating the laws, policies, programmes, initiatives and best practices put in place contributes meaningfully to address these forms of organized crime. In addition, disaggregated data and monitoring is necessary not only for governments, but also for NGOs. Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement requires support from the CSO community.

Thank you for your attention and looking forward to constructive collaboration.