Statement by the President of the Security Council on trafficking in persons in areas affected by armed conflict
The Security Council recalls its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
The Security Council recalls the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, which includes the first internationally agreed definition of the crime of trafficking in persons and provides a framework to effectively prevent and combat trafficking in persons.
The Security Council condemns in the strongest terms reported instances of trafficking in persons in areas affected by armed conflict. The Security Council further notes that trafficking in persons undermines the rule of law and contributes to other forms of transnational organized crime, which can exacerbate conflict and foster insecurity.
The Security Council deplores all acts of trafficking in persons undertaken by the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL, also known as Da’esh), including of Yazidis, as well as all ISIL’s violations of international humanitarian law and abuses of human rights, and deplores also any such trafficking in persons and violations and other abuses by the Lord’s Resistance Army, and other terrorist or armed groups, including Boko Haram, for the purpose of sexual slavery, sexual exploitation, and forced labor which may contribute to the funding and sustainment of such groups, and underscores that certain acts associated with trafficking in persons in the context of armed conflict may constitute war crimes.
The Security Council reiterates the critical importance of all Member States fully implementing relevant resolutions with respect to ISIL, including resolutions 2161 (2014), 2170 (2014), 2178 (2014), 2199 (2015) and 2249 (2015). The Security Council further reiterates the critical importance of all Member States fully implementing relevant resolutions, including resolution 2195 (2014), which expresses concern that terrorists benefit from transnational organized crime in some regions, including from the trafficking of persons, as well as resolution 2242 (2015) which expresses concern that acts of sexual and gender-based violence are known to be part of the strategic objectives and ideology of certain terrorist groups.
The Security Council calls upon Member States to reinforce their political commitment to and improve their implementation of applicable legal obligations to criminalize, prevent, and otherwise combat trafficking in persons, and to strengthen efforts to detect and disrupt trafficking in persons, including implementing robust victim identification mechanisms and providing access to protection and assistance for identified victims, particularly in relation to conflict. The Security Council underscores in this regard the importance of international law enforcement cooperation, including with respect to investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases and in this regard calls for the continued support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in providing technical assistance upon request.
The Security Council calls upon Member States to consider ratifying or acceding to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. The Security Council further calls upon States Parties to this Convention and to the Protocol to redouble their efforts to implement them effectively.
The Security Council takes note of the recommendations made by the Working Group on Trafficking in Persons, established by the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, since its inception, and calls upon States to strengthen their efforts in building the necessary political, economic and social conditions to tackle this crime.
The Security Council notes the particular impact that trafficking in persons in situations of armed conflict has on women and children, including increasing their vulnerability to sexual and gender based violence. The Security Council expresses its intention to continue to address this impact, including, as appropriate, in the context of its Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, within its mandate, and in the framework of its agenda to prevent and address sexual violence in armed conflict.
The Security Council expresses solidarity with and compassion for victims of trafficking, including victims of trafficking related to armed conflicts worldwide and underscores the need for Member States and the UN System to proactively identify trafficking victims amongst vulnerable populations, including refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), and address comprehensively victims’ needs, including proactive victim identification and, as appropriate, the provision of or access to medical and psycho-social assistance, in the context of the UN peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts, as well as ensure that victims of trafficking in persons are treated as victims of crime and in line with domestic legislation not penalized or stigmatized for their involvement in any unlawful activities in which they have been compelled to engage.
The Security Council calls upon Member States to hold accountable those who engage in trafficking in persons in situations of armed conflict, especially their government employees and officials, as well as any contractors and subcontractors, and urges Member States to take all appropriate steps to mitigate the risk that their public procurement and supply chains may contribute to trafficking in persons in situations of armed conflict.
The Security Council welcomes existing efforts to address sexual exploitation and abuse in the context of UN peacekeeping missions, and requests the Secretary-General to identify and take additional steps to prevent and respond robustly to reports of trafficking in persons in UN peacekeeping operations, with the objective of ensuring accountability for exploitation.
The Security Council requests the Secretary-General to take all appropriate steps to reduce to the greatest extent possible the risk that the UN’s procurement and supply chains may contribute to the trafficking in persons in situations of armed conflict.
The Security Council urges relevant UN agencies operating in armed conflict and post-conflict situations to build their technical capacity to assess conflict situations for instances of trafficking in persons, proactively screen for potential victims of trafficking, and facilitate access to needed services for identified victims.
The Security Council expresses its intent to continue to address trafficking in persons with respect to the situations on its seizure list.
The Security Council requests that the Secretary-General report back to the Council on progress made in 12 months to implement better existing mechanisms countering trafficking in persons and to carry out steps requested in this Presidential Statement.