BANGKOK (22 May 2014) – More than ten years after the entry into force of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (the Palermo Protocol), anti-trafficking experts from around the globe have unequivocally recognized the paramount importance of coordination among all state and non-state actors involved in the fight against trafficking.
They affirmed this loud and clear during the second consultative meeting with National Rapporteurs on trafficking in persons and equivalent mechanisms, held on 21 and 22 May 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand.
On the occasion of the ten years anniversary of the mandate, the UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Ms. Joy Ezeilo, in partnership with OHCHR and UNODC, brought together for the second time, national anti-trafficking bodies from 26 countries across all regions of the world.
“Effective coordination of the various anti-trafficking initiatives and enhanced cooperation among all actors involved in combating trafficking is essential to maximise available resources, minimise duplication and address States’ fatigue vis à vis the number of demands they are required to attend to,” said the UN expert who led the meeting.
“Partnerships must be as inclusive as possible and seek the involvement of all sectors of society including religious leaders, businesses and academia. Victims’ voices must be heard during all phases of designing, implementing and evaluating policies and programmes, especially programmes aimed at victims’ support and protection” continued Ms. Ezeilo.
Ms. Ezeilo echoed the views of participants who emphasized that national institutions coordinating actions against trafficking in persons must have a pivotal role in encouraging, monitoring and evaluating anti-trafficking responses to ensure that they are in conformity with international human rights standards as well as gender sensitive and victim-centred.
Experts from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East shared their national, bilateral, sub-regional and regional experiences in prevention efforts, protection of and assistance to trafficked victims, including the setting up of institutional and legislative framework established for these purposes at municipal level. Regardless of the features and mandate of these bodies, participants felt united in the common goal to combat trafficking and valued this meeting for opportunities it presents to learn about other countries’ experiences and for networking amongst National Rapporteurs and Equivalent Mechanisms (NREMS). They undertook to keep open channels of communication and to regularly exchange information on respective action and cooperation to end trafficking in persons.
The participants also highlighted that regional and sub-regional mechanisms are in a unique position to promote and support the role of national anti-trafficking institutions through various means including advocacy, and development of concrete tools, like guidelines, protocols and training modules.
“I trust that networking among national anti-trafficking bodies at a global level is now on a solid ground to bear fruits in our collective quest to end human trafficking,” the UN Special Rapporteur said.
This meeting follows the first consultative meeting of national anti-trafficking mechanisms convened by Ms. Ezeilo’s in Berlin exactly a year ago (23-24 May 2013) which gathered 40 participants from 19 countries around the world.
Joy Ngozi Ezeilo assumed her functions as Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially in women and children on 1 August 2008. Ms. Ezeilo is a human rights lawyer and professor at the University of Nigeria. She has also served in various governmental capacities, including as Honourable Commissioner for Ministry of Women Affairs & Social Development in Enugu State and as a Delegate to the National Political Reform Conference. She has consulted for various international organizations and is also involved in several NGOs, particularly working on women’s rights. She has published extensively on a variety of topics, including human rights, women’s rights, and Sharia law. Learn more, visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Trafficking/Pages/TraffickingIndex.aspx