Freedom Art Walk: the fight to end child labor and child trafficking is a global fight.
Street Art for Mankind – Freedom Art Walk
Remarks by Ms Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
10 May 2019
Cher Monsieur Vinicius Pinheiro, Special Representative of the International Labour Organization,
Cher Ambassadeur Garcia Moritan,
Dear Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic Violence and Gender-Based Violence,
Chers Audrey et Thibault Decker,
I’m moved and impressed by what I heard and what I’ve seen today in this first ever Freedom Art Walk in Manhattan to fight child trafficking. I also wanted to tell you that François Delattre, the Ambassador, and all my colleagues and myself are very honored to be partnering with you for the third time, as this walk is actually the continuation of exhibits that we have done at the UN last year.
I believe that walking and thinking go well together. As we walk, we have time to really pounder and reflect upon the state of child trafficking in the world. That also is a good moment to strengthen our resolve, - our personal and collective resolve-, to fight it. So really, from the bottom of my heart and on behalf of Ambassador Delattre, I want to thank you both for your engagement and for all the time and energy you dedicate to this cause.
We will repeat it again and again, the fight to end child labor and child trafficking is a global fight. It is a fight that we all have to win. Frankly, how can we still tolerate that? If I add the numbers you gave, 168 million children this year are still entrapped in this kind of modern form of slavery. This is very upsetting and this must end. It is not only a moral imperative, it is actually a legal obligation; and we have all committed to it. We have all committed to it in the UN. In the UN, we discuss a lot, but we actually negotiate and we agree also to conventions. And this year we will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the rights of the child. It is very important. We also have all committed, and this was 4 years ago, to an agenda called the “agenda 2030”, meaning that by year 2030, there are a number of global goals that we all need to reach and achieve. Of course, helping children and eliminating child trafficking is part of that. So we all must be involved: the stakeholders, the artists, the diplomats, the representatives of the UN, the representatives of the city of New York and all citizens. We really need to unite our force and talents to abolish contemporary forms of slavery. We must not rest until child trafficking become a remnant of the past. This is the purpose of this event and I can’t thank you enough - all of you-, for you time, for your commitment, for your art and for your action. And I can’t think of a better place than the city of New York, which is a global city, a sort of cosmopolitan mirror of the world, a sort of UN on its own, to host such an appeal and an appeal through art.
We know it, no country is immune to this scourge. And we ourselves are not immune. Every day, and you explained to us very well, we buy, without knowing it, products that children’s hands have helped to make. All these murals, right before our eyes, are there to remind us of these facts. And in the sustainable goals, we committed to change the way we produce, to change the way we consume to reach those objectives. We also know that child labor is not inevitable, and to learn more about what we can do to stop it will help us making progress. Street Art for Mankind’s work is key in that respect. What I like very much is that you bring art as a transformative power and you connect people together, you let us see the face of those children who are suffering and whom we want to protect.
So again, my warmest thanks to all of you.