Fight against trafficking of persons requires a commitment [fr]
Open debate on trafficking of persons in conflict situations - Speech by Mrs. Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 21 November 2017
- France is also heavily involved at the national level in the fight against trafficking in persons, especially women and children.
- Crédits: UN OCHA
At the outset, allow me to warmly thank Italy for having convened today’s debate on an extremely topical issue that touches all of our consciences. We also congratulate you, Mr. President, on your tireless efforts that allowed us to unanimously adopt resolution 2388 (2017). France also thanks the Secretary-General for his exemplary leadership on this issue, and Ms. Giammarinaro, Mr. Fedotov and Mr. Chergui for their informative briefings. France aligns itself with the statement that will be delivered by the observer of the European Union.
I shall focus my statement on three points.
First, with respect to an analysis of the situation, trafficking in human beings remains one of the most profitable and widespread activities in the world. It assumes numerous forms of exploitation: forced labour, sexual servitude, kidnapping for forced prostitution and rape, to give but a few examples. Tragically, recourse to such atrocities, which are abominable and dehumanizing by their very nature, is no longer the exception to the rule in conflict and post-conflict situations. Armed groups, be they terrorists and criminals, use human trafficking not only as a means of sewing terror among civilian populations, but also as a source of financing and even as a recruitment tool. We must make the chilling observation that trafficking has become a key and a nefarious component of many conflict situations.
In Iraq and Syria, it is women and children who have suffered and continue to suffer the worst atrocities committed by Da’esh. In West Africa, and more particularly in Nigeria, Boko Haram tortures, rapes and holds hundreds of women and children captive. In Libya, migrants are subjected to inhuman treatment and violence by criminal groups and militias who see them as nothing but a source of income.
The second point that I want to emphasize concerns the obligation to act collectively in the face of acts that are not only morally intolerable, but also constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity and even crimes of genocide. Their perpetrators must be brought to justice for their actions. Thus, in the case of Libya, France welcomes the activities of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in pursuing her investigation into the alleged crimes against migrants transiting through Libya. Faced of such crimes, we have a duty to act to protect not only civilians, but also international humanitarian law and our principles. We must also work tirelessly to settle by political means conflicts that cause people to flee and suffer.
In view of our determined commitment to multilateralism on this issue, France is also heavily involved at the national level in the fight against trafficking in persons, especially women and children.
France has a highly developed legal arsenal and a national action plan to counter that scourge. We encourage all States to equip themselves with robust national arrangements in the framework established by the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols, including the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.
France is involved in many bilateral and regional cooperation efforts to assist the most vulnerable States to address this scourge. We participate actively in the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime capacity-building programmes, particularly in West Africa, and contributes to the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, since it was established in 2010.
The third element that I shall highlight, as have previous speakers, is the fact that our common fight against trafficking in human beings requires the commitment of all States and heightened international cooperation. States we must forge a global response based on respect for human rights and oriented on three main objectives: prevention, protection and punishment.
The Security Council has a special responsibility in the fight against this scourge in conflict situations. Today, we cannot deny that trafficking in persons by armed or terrorist groups in conflict or post-conflict situations constitutes a threat to international peace and security.
Following the adoption in December 2015 of presidential statement S/PRST/2015/25 and in December 2016 of resolution 2331 (2016), resolution 2388 (2017), which we have adopted today, is a new step forward in our common fight against trafficking in and exploitation of human beings. It will, inter alia, strengthen the action of States, with the support of the United Nations, in two main areas: first, the identification of victims and vulnerable persons, with special attention to women and children; and secondly, the ability to dismantle networks, in particular criminal and terrorist networks, that deal in trafficking.
In the face of such horrendous crimes, we have a collective responsibility to stop them and to prosecute those responsible for such acts. The Security Council may rest assured of the full commitment of France to that fight.