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PRESIDENT of the 64th Session
United Nations General Assembly

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At the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice: High-level Meeting of the General Assembly to Formally Launch the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons

New York, 31 August 2010

Excellencies,

We meet here today to launch the United Nations Global Plan of Action against trafficking in Persons. The Plan of Action was adopted by the General Assembly in resolution 64/293 on 30 July 2010, after a broad and consultative process. I would like to again thank the co-facilitators of this process, the Permanent Representatives of Cape Verde and Portugal, for their efforts in facilitating this process. I would also like to thank the Secretary-General and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for their engagement with this issue.

Excellencies,

The Plan of Action is intended to foster concerted action to defend the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The right for all human beings to be born free. The right not to be held in slavery or servitude. The affirmation that slavery and the slave trade are prohibited in all their forms. Fulfilling these commitments must be at the forefront of the international agenda, if we are to protect the world's population, especially the poor and most vulnerable from human trafficking, a modern day slavery.

By adopting the Plan of Action, Governments have resolved to take concrete action to prevent trafficking in persons, to protect and assist victims, to prosecute related crimes, and to strengthen partnerships among Governments, civil society organizations and the private sector, including the media. Governments have also agreed to promote and consider ratifying existing international instruments related to trafficking. The Plan of Action adopts a human rights-centred approach to efforts to prevent and combat trafficking, and agrees to mainstream the issue of trafficking into broader United Nations policies and programmes on economic and social development, human rights, rule of law, good governance, education, and natural disaster and post-conflict reconstruction. To assist victims, the Plan of Action establishes a UN voluntary trust fund for victims of trafficking in persons, especially women and children. I encourage Member States to contribute generously to this fund. Governments are also urged to take all appropriate measures to ensure that victims are not penalized for being trafficked and to protect their privacy, identity and safety.

Excellencies,

I commend all Member States for their efforts and commitment to address this urgent issue. I call on all nations and members of civil society to work together to implement this Plan of Action.

Abduction, coercion, trafficking across national and international borders, forcing women and children into sexual exploitation and servitude- this must not be accepted in today's world. As this heinous crime flourishes, thousands of men, women and children are robbed of their safety, their freedom and their dignity. Human trafficking devastates families and tears communities apart. When the history of this horror calls, we cannot let this period be remembered as one in which the global community knew but did not act.

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