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UN member states urged to strictly implement rules on prosecuting traffickers
March 16,2017   By:Xinhua
UNITED NATIONS, March 16, 2017 -- Senior UN officials said here Wednesday that human trafficking thrives in countries where the rule of law is weak or non-existent, calling on governments to make better use of the tools created under the UN flag to stop the victimization of men, women and children.
 
Their statements came as they were speaking at an open debate of the UN Security Council on trafficking in persons in conflict situations, forced labour, slavery and other similar practices.
 
"At a time of divisions in so many areas, this should be an issue that can unite us," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, stressing that "slavery is not a thing of the past."
 
"Let us come together around the key issues of prosecution, protection and prevention, and thereby build a future without human trafficking," Guterres said.
 
The secretary-general outlined a number of UN tools that exist which can be used to punish human trafficking, and to prevent it in the first place.
 
Among them is the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocol, which includes the first internationally agreed definition of the crime of trafficking in persons and provides a framework to effectively prevent and combat it.
 
Meanwhile, the UN chief also noted the International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions and the complementary Global Plan of Action on Human Trafficking. Approved in 2010, the Plan aims to better coordinate national responses to this scourge, and includes a UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.
 
Guterres called on UN member states to strengthen intelligence-sharing and other law enforcement while addressing the underlying vulnerabilities of victims, such as educating girls, respecting the rights of minorities and creating safe paths for migration.
 
He called for engagement with the private sector, and cautioned that any support needs to incorporate the voices and views of the people effected.
 
According to 2016 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, issued in late December by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), victims of trafficking are found in 106 of 193 countries. Many of these are in conflict areas, where the crimes are not prosecuted.
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