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UK Statement to the Alliance Against Trafficking in Persons conference in Vienna

"No country can ever be satisfied that they have ever done enough to deal with human trafficking. No country is immune."

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Boy behind locked fence

Ambassador Dominic Schroeder, Head of the UK Delegation to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, gave the following statement to the Alliance Against Trafficking in Persons conference on June 25 2013.

“The United Kingdom would like to join other speakers in thanking the OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings for organising this important event and the wide range of bodies that make up what has become such a respected alliance.

Today’s discussions which will do doubt be equalled tomorrow demonstrate a number of undeniable truths when it comes to the fight against trafficking in human beings.

  1. The diversity of the alliance speaks volumes of the importance of international cooperation and coordination. We are dealing with a transnational threat that has no respect for borders and boundaries. It is not a challenge that any one country can tackle through unilateral action alone. We need to share intelligence, exchange best practice and learn from others’ experiences, both positive and negative.

  2. This is far from being a role that governments alone can resolve. Whilst governments should not deny their principal role in leading a state’s efforts to tackle the scourge of trafficking, the key to eradicating human trafficking is partnership. We need a broad and comprehensive approach that involves civil society, academia, business, educational institutions the media and indeed the general public. Such a multi-stakeholder approach recognises the complexity of this crime and the importance of a response that draws on a wide range skills, expertise and experience.

  3. Trafficking in human beings is a rapidly evolving crime in which the criminals are constantly changing their modus operandi to maximise exploitation of others thus maximising their profit margins. We must remain alert to this, never stand still and respond accordingly.

  4. We must ensure that a compassionate, human rights based approach remains at the heart of our policies and responses. As the topic of the conference says, we are dealing with cases of human lives being stolen. We must at all times treat victims with dignity and respect and ensure that they enjoy adequate care and support. In this context, we would like to remind fellow participants that we will host a side event tomorrow lunchtime with a focus on victim return and reintegration care.

  5. No country can ever be satisfied that they have ever done enough to deal with human trafficking. There is no room for complacency, political point scoring or moralising. No country is immune from the crime of trafficking. In the UK we recognise that we are far from having all of the answers and value external challenge to test and improve our response. Indeed civil society in the UK regularly reminds us of areas where they feel we are falling short. We welcome such feedback and events like this conference are an opportunity to further adjust our responses by learning from international best practice.

  6. And finally, as this conference takes place at the seat of the OSCE, we are reminded of the added value that this organisation plays in the international response to trafficking in human beings. The fact that the OSCE has played host to two high level and well attended conferences on human trafficking in the space of only two weeks demonstrates the relevance and credibility of the organisation as an international standard setter. Praise is due to the ongoing excellence of Special Representative Giamarrinaro and her dedicated team as well as the Ukrainian Chairmanship of the OSCE for identifying trafficking as an ongoing priority.

Thank you.”

Published 26 June 2013