Secretary-General Tells General Assembly Human Trafficking ‘Slavery in the Modern Age’; Can Only Be Ended by Working in Partnership through Global Plan of Action

31 August 2010

Secretary-General Tells General Assembly Human Trafficking ‘Slavery in the Modern Age’; Can Only Be Ended by Working in Partnership through Global Plan of Action

31 August 2010
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General Tells General Assembly Human Trafficking ‘Slavery in the Modern


Age’; Can Only Be Ended by Working in Partnership through Global Plan of Action


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to a General Assembly high-level meeting on launching the Global Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons, in New York, 31 August:

Today we come together to launch the Global Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons.  This Plan of Action is a clarion call; your presence is testimony to its widespread support.

I thank the facilitators, the Ambassadors of Portugal and Cape Verde, the President of the General Assembly, and all Member States who have worked hard to build consensus. 

Within the United Nations system, my appreciation goes to UN.GIFT (United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking), the Vienna Forum, the Blue Heart Campaign and our goodwill ambassadors.  The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Global Report on Human Trafficking, anti-trafficking toolkits and manuals, documentary films, public information and technical assistance have also played a part.  I thank all those involved for their commitment and hard work.

Human trafficking is among the worst violations of human rights.

It is slavery in the modern age. 

Every year, thousands of people, mainly women and children, are exploited by criminals who use them for forced labour or the sex trade.  No country is immune.  Almost all play a part, either as a source of trafficked people, transit point, or destination. 

Ten years ago, the world community spoke out forcefully against human trafficking when the General Assembly adopted the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.

Since then, Governments, international organizations and civil society have taken steps to stop this terrible crime against human dignity, which shames us all. 

But even that is not enough.  To end human trafficking in all its forms, we must take a common approach, coordinated and consistent across the globe.

The Global Plan of Action will help us to achieve exactly that.

It builds on, and will strengthen, the United Nations Trafficking in Persons Protocol.

It will engage Governments and criminal justice systems, civil society, the private sector, the media, and concerned citizens. 

And under the plan, the fight against human trafficking will become part of all the United Nations broader development and security policies and programs.

One of the plan’s most important elements is the creation of a United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for those who are trafficked, especially women and children.

The Fund aims to help Governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations provide these vulnerable people with protection and support for their physical, psychological and social recovery. 

After they have been exploited and abused, they should not be punished, too.

I urge Member States, the private sector and philanthropists to contribute generously to this Trust Fund.

And I urge you to increase technical assistance to countries that support the fight against trafficking, but lack financial resources and expertise.  These are often countries from which people are trafficked, so their needs are especially urgent.

The Plan of Action also stresses the paramount importance of increased research, data collection and analysis of human trafficking.

We must improve our knowledge and understanding of this crime, if we are to make good policy decisions and targeted interventions.

The Global Plan of Action strengthens the three “P”s:  Preventing human trafficking; Prosecuting offenders; and Protecting victims.

It also promotes a fourth, critical “P”:  Partnership. 

The only way to end human trafficking is by working together, in partnerships between States and within regions, partnerships within the United Nations, under the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons and the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking, and in public-private partnerships.

The biggest challenge to the Global Plan of Action is to reduce the numbers of people vulnerable to human trafficking.

The only way to achieve this is through our work on human rights and development.  This highlights the crucial importance of the Millennium Development Goals — and of next month’s Millennium Development Goals Summit here in New York.

Empowering women, fighting discrimination, reducing poverty, keeping children healthy and out of conflict zones.

The progress we are making in these respects is also helping to end human trafficking and exploitation.  

But as I speak, thousands of people are living as slaves.  

They need our help — now. 

With this Global Action Plan, we have announced our steadfast commitment to stop human trafficking.

I thank you for your support, and urge you to turn the Plan into action. 

* *** *

For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.