Security Council Condemns Human Trafficking in Strongest Terms, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2331 (2016)

SC/12647
20 December 2016
7847th Meeting (AM)

Security Council Condemns Human Trafficking in Strongest Terms, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2331 (2016)

Secretary-General Tells of Abducted Yazidi Girls Sold in Open Slave Markets

The Security Council condemned in the strongest terms today all instances of human trafficking in areas affected by armed conflict as it heard from more than 70 speakers during a day-long open debate on the subject.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2331 (2016), the 15‑member Council, responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security, specifically condemned the sale of, or trade in, persons seized by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh), including Yazidis and persons belonging to religious and ethnic minorities, as well as trafficking in persons by Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and other groups for purposes of sexual slavery, and exploitation and forced labour.  It stressed that human trafficking contributed to other forms of transnational organized crime, which could exacerbate conflict and foster insecurity and instability.

Also by that text, the Council stressed that acts of human trafficking during armed conflict as well as sexual and gender-based violence could be part of the strategic objectives and ideologies of certain terrorist groups by, among other things, incentivizing recruitment, supporting financing through the sale of women, girls and boys, and use of religious justifications to codify and institutionalize sexual slavery.  It called upon Member States, among other things, to investigate, disrupt and dismantle the networks involved, including through the use of anti-money laundering, anti-corruption and counter-terrorism laws, underscoring in that regard the importance of international cooperation in law enforcement.

By other terms, the Council encouraged Member States to build strong partnerships with the private sector and civil society, including local women’s organizations, and encouraged the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and regional bodies to include analyses of financial flows associated with human trafficking that financed terrorism.  It affirmed that victims of trafficking and sexual violence should be classified as victims of terrorism.  The council further expressed its intention to consider imposing targeted sanctions on individuals and entities involved in human trafficking in conflict-affected areas.

At the outset of the meeting, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described trafficking as a global problem, saying the most vulnerable people were those caught in conflict — women, children, internally displaced persons and refugees.  Terrorist groups such as ISIL, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab and others used human trafficking and sexual violence as weapons of terror and important sources of revenue.  Noting that both ISIL and Boko Haram engaged in the sexual enslavement of women and girls, he said Yazidi girls captured in Iraq were trafficked into Syria and sold in open slave markets.

Emphasizing the importance of fighting trafficking for the sake of the victims, and of reducing funding for terrorists, he said countries should investigate and prosecute cases in which their own nationals committed such crimes abroad.  All perpetrators must be brought to justice, he said, stressing that only an international response could succeed in resolving an international problem like human trafficking.  Because the majority of trafficking victims were women and girls, the response must include special attention to their rights, and States must adopt gender-sensitive and rights-based migration policies, he said.

Zainab Hawa Bangura, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, said a range of extremist groups were using sexual violence to advance military, political, economic and ideological aims.  They used sexual violence as a tactic to strike fear into the hearts of civilians.  To disrupt human trafficking was to help disrupt the business of terrorism, she said, adding that, in order to define sexual violence as a tactic of terrorism, her Office had identified six of its key dimensions:  when systematically committed by violent extremists and terrorist groups; when deliberately used to spread terror; when used to finance the activities of terrorist groups; when used as a form of persecution targeting political, ethnic or religious groups; when advanced as a strategy to radicalize, recruit, retain or reward fighters; and when committed in pursuit of an ideology entailing control over women’s bodies, sexuality and reproduction.  Victims of human trafficking were victims of terrorism, she affirmed.

Ameena Saeed Hasan, civilian activist for Yazidi women’s rights, said Da’esh had abducted more than 6,000 women and children and sold them in slave markets.  The virginity of girls had become the gate of paradise, according to the group’s rules, she said.  While Islam was known to contain certain moderate principles and ideas, its leaders had remained silent in the face of what Da’esh was doing, she said, adding that genocide had been committed and the Council had been unable to prevent it.  Women and children were brought to slave markets as in medieval times, she added, but no military operation had been carried out to free them.  “Where is justice?” she demanded.

Also addressing the Council, Nadia Murad Basee Taha, Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking, recalled the enslavement committed by ISIL against herself and others of the Yazidi community, saying the group’s genocidal campaign against Yazidis continued with more than 3,000 of them remaining in captivity today.  She asked why there was no court to prosecute the perpetrators of crimes against the Yazidi, nor an independent body to investigate them.  She appealed to Member States to ensure that human traffickers faced sanctions for their crimes, to establish international safe zones and to take in refugees fleeing brutal wars.

Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said pervasive transnational human trafficking was everywhere, and building effective action to counter it would require a strong framework of international cooperation and shared responsibility.  Existing frameworks must be strengthened to act against “modern-day slave traders”, he emphasized.  Law enforcement must target organized criminals by sharing intelligence and coordinating actions across borders while deploying a full arsenal of tools to fight money-laundering and terrorist financing.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain, Council President for December, spoke in his national capacity, explaining that his country had convened today’s debate because the moral imperative of fighting human trafficking and all contemporary forms of slavery was clear, and Council action imperative.  Today’s resolution, the Council’s first action on human trafficking, proposed the means to strengthen the normative framework as well as sanctions for fighting the phenomenon.

In the ensuing debate, speakers recognized that human trafficking in conflict areas was a threat to international peace and security, and was being used systematically by certain terrorist groups and non-State actors as a tool to intimidate and destroy communities because of their religion, ethnicity or culture.  Since it was also used to finance the activities of terrorist groups, financial flows should be analysed and targeted sanctions imposed on individuals and groups that committed the crime of human trafficking, he said, describing them as war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Speakers also called for international cooperation in fighting human trafficking, for an end to impunity for perpetrators, and for treating trafficking victims as victims of terrorism.  Noting that ISIL had established a market in Iraq, where women and girls were sold for use as sexual slaves, France’s representative said those responsible would need to answer for such atrocities.

Greece’s representative said that, as the first entry point for most migrants and refugees arriving in Europe, authorities in her country were well aware of the challenges involved.  Greece had established a national initiative focused on coordinating different stakeholders with the aim of protecting vulnerable persons, including women, girls and unaccompanied children.  Combating human trafficking was not merely about implementing laws and penal codes, she said, emphasizing that it was critical to uphold human dignity, first and foremost.  “Traffickers and warlords are relying on our failure to protect vulnerable people,” she added.  She also stressed the importance of cracking down on the enormous profits generated by traffickers, by following their financial trails and using all available investigative tools to prosecute perpetrators.

The United Kingdom’s representative said that at the heart of the international response to human trafficking in conflict zones must be an understanding “not just of what we can do but what we ought to do”.  It was easy to talk in the abstract about coordination, but the question was fundamentally about resources and institutional culture, he said.  The United Kingdom was focusing on the issue of accountability in Iraq, and had established, with that country’s Government, a task force on implementation and coordination.

At the outset of the meeting, the Council observed one minute of silence to commemorate the victims of yesterday’s terrorist attacks as well as Andrey Karlov, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Turkey, those murdered in Ankara.

Others addressing the Council were Ministers and other officials representing Nigeria, Ukraine Japan, Venezuela, Uruguay, Malaysia, New Zealand, China, Russian Federation, United States, Angola, Egypt, Senegal, Mexico, Colombia, Germany, Iran, Brazil, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein (also on behalf of  Australia and Switzerland), India, Belgium (also on behalf of Argentina, Netherlands and Slovenia), Austria, Poland, Nicaragua, Thailand, Indonesia, Canada, Romania, Israel, Argentina, Qatar, Australia, Bangladesh, Morocco, Jordan, Paraguay, Slovakia, Luxembourg, Azerbaijan, Bahrain (on behalf of the Group of Friends against Trafficking), Turkey, Philippines, Peru, Norway (on behalf of the Nordic States), Haiti, Panama, Montenegro, Kazakhstan, Portugal, Ireland, Saudi Arabia, Uganda, Rwanda, Eritrea, Chile, Afghanistan and, Côte d’Ivoire.

The Permanent Observer of the Holy See and a representative of the European Union delegation also delivered statements, as did representatives of the International Organization for Migration, Organization of American States and Interpol.

The meeting began at 10:12 a.m. and ended at 5:45 p.m.

Briefings

BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General of the United Nations, asked Member States to help victims of trafficking today and prevent further cases in the future.  Trafficking was a global problem and the most vulnerable people were those caught in conflict — women, children, internally displaced persons and refugees.  War provided oxygen to terrorist groups, he said noting that Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh), Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab and others used trafficking and sexual violence as a weapon of terror and an important source of revenue.  Noting that both ISIL/Da’esh and Boko Haram had engaged in the sexual enslavement of women and girls, he said Yazidi girls captured in Iraq were trafficked into Syria and sold in open slave markets.  Traumatized Syrian refugee children were being forced to work, he added.

Emphasizing the importance of fighting trafficking for the sake of the victims, and also to reduce funding for terrorists, he said the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime was a vital tool, and called upon all States that were not signatories to its Protocol on Trafficking in Persons to sign up right away.  Countries should also adopt dedicated anti-trafficking laws and national action plans.  They should also investigate and prosecute cases, including those in which their own nationals committed such crimes abroad.  All perpetrators must be brought to justice, he stressed, pointing out that trafficking was an international problem and only an international response could succeed.

Encouraging contributions to the United Nations Voluntary Trust fund for Victims of Human Trafficking and the Voluntary Trust fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, he said that, if conflict provided oxygen to traffickers, human rights and stability suffocated them.  That was why it was so important to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, he said, underlining the need for all countries to ratify all international human rights, refugee, labour rights and crime-prevention conventions, and to put greater efforts into their effective implementation.  Because the majority of trafficking victims were women and girls, the response must include special attention to their rights, and States must adopt gender-sensitive and rights-based migration policies, he said.

YURY FEDOTOV, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said that, thanks to the efforts of the Security Council and of Goodwill Ambassador Nadia Murad, there was heightened attention to human trafficking in conflict and in mass movements of refugees and migrants.  Pervasive and transnational human trafficking was everywhere, and building effective action thus required a strong framework of international cooperation and shared responsibility.  The required building blocks could be found in the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocol against Trafficking in Persons, through which 158 countries had criminalized human trafficking, he said.

Existing frameworks, which represented a solid foundation of international law, must be strengthened to act against “modern-day slave traders”, he emphasized, noting that UNODC would present its 2016 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons tomorrow.  That document provided a snapshot of the state of national responses to human trafficking.  It also established that an increasing number of trafficking victims from conflict-affected countries such as Syria, Iraq and Somalia were being detected in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.  The report also featured a thematic chapter on the connections linking conflict, migration and trafficking.  Law enforcement must target organized criminals by sharing intelligence and coordinating actions across borders while deploying their full arsenal of tools to fight money-laundering and terrorist financing, he stressed.

ZAINAB HAWA BANGURA, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, emphasized that new and previously unforeseen threats must be confronted, including the use of sexual violence as a tactic of terrorism by groups that trafficked their victims internally, as well as across borders in the pursuit of profit.  The deeds of the perpetrators, who operated with absolute impunity, were often hidden by the “fog of war”.  Their ongoing atrocities were motivated as much by commercial as ideological concerns, she said, adding that women and children had become part of the currency by which ISIL/Da’esh consolidated its power.  The women and children had become part of the lifeblood that sustained such groups.

She went on to state that a range of extremist groups were using sexual violence to advance their military, political, economic and ideological aims, pointing out that, of the 48 groups listed in her report, 37 were non-State actors and 7 were designated as terrorist groups.  They restricted women’s rights, autonomy and freedoms, and used sexual violence as a tactic to strike fear into the hearts of civilians.  That was not a new phenomenon and neither was the trafficking in and exploitation of women and girls, she said, stressing that the combination of those two evils today seemed unprecedented in its scope and brazen brutality.  Recognizing sexual violence as a tactic of terrorism called for a rethinking of the response, she said, noting that the crime represented the very front line in the battle against violent extremism.

To disrupt human trafficking was to help disrupt the business of terrorism, she said, adding that, in order to define sexual violence as a tactic of terrorism, her Office had identified six key dimensions:  when committed by violent extremists and terrorist groups in a systematic manner, integral to their operations; when deliberately used to spread terror; when used to finance the activities of terrorist groups; when used as a form of persecution targeting political, ethnic or religious groups; when advanced as a strategy to radicalize, recruit, retain or reward fighters; and when was committed pursuant to an ideology of controlling women’s bodies, sexuality and reproduction.  Its victims were victims of terrorism, she said.

Today’s resolution was an important normative development in that regard, she said.  The next step was to reflect that understanding in national counter-terrorism legislation, mirrored in national, regional and global counter-terrorism strategies, she continued.  The evidence base informing advocacy and action must be deepened and the sharing of information and judicial cooperation enhanced.  The moral authority of progressive religious and community leaders must be mobilized, and support for the socioeconomic reintegration of survivors must infuse all peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction efforts.  Ultimately, the fight against trafficking was a fight for the values and ideas that would shape the future, she said, underscoring the non-negotiable nature of the rights, freedoms and futures of women and children.

AMEENA SAEED HASAN, civilian activist for Yazidi women’s rights, said Da’esh had abducted more than 6,000 women and children and sold them in slave markets, describing that action as one of the worst phenomena in modern history and a shame for humanity.  Since the ISIL attack on northern Iraq in August 2014, the Yazidi community’s suffering had continued, affecting women and children in particular.  The virginity of girls had become the gate of paradise, according to the rules of Da’esh, she said, adding that the group’s actions were based on certain extremist precepts that were in turn based on fatwa and religious texts.  While it was known that Islam contained certain moderate principles and ideas, its leaders had remained silent in the face of what Da’esh was doing, she said, adding that the international community was faced with a pernicious phenomenon affecting all States.  Urging delegates to “just look at what happened in Germany yesterday”, she also noted the murder of the Russian Federation’s Ambassador in Turkey, where terrorists declaimed religious slogans.

The international community must eliminate the funding sources of terrorists, she stressed, pointing out that Da’esh could not commit massacres without support.  A genocide had been committed and “your Council” had not been able to stop it, she said, pointing out that some areas of her homeland were defined by mass graves of Yazidis.  Thousands of women had become sexual slaves, she said, describing that as reality in the twenty-first century.  Women and children were brought to slave markets as in medieval times, she added, asking how human conscience could stand for that.  No military operation had been carried out to free them, she said, demanding:  “Where is justice?”  More than 3,000 abducted women were not treated as prisoners of war, but used as sexual slaves.  Women living in difficult conditions should be evacuated, she said, adding that 100,000 displaced people were living in “Kurdistan”.  Despite the liberation of Yazidi zones, they still needed the Security Council’s support, she stressed.

NADIA MURAD BASEE TAHA, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking, recalled her 2015 testimony to the Council on crimes, including enslavement, committed by ISIL/Da’esh against herself and the Yazidi community.  Since then, that group’s genocidal campaign against Yazidis had continued and more than 3,000 of them remained in captivity today.  She went on to detail her own family’s experiences as hostages of ISIL/Da’esh, recalling that, in September, she and her attorney had asked the Council to establish an independent body to investigate the group’s crimes against all Iraqis.

There had been some progress since then, she said, noting that the United Kingdom had demonstrated leadership by proposing to establish a global response, including by establishing a mechanism for gathering evidence of international crimes committed by ISIL/Da’esh in Iraq.  While commending those who had voiced support for that initiative, she went on to emphasize that “words of support are not enough”, asking why there was no court to prosecute the perpetrators of crimes against Yazidis, nor an independent body to investigate them.  If such crimes could not be stopped, it was imperative at least to commit to the creation of a record of them, she said, calling on Prime Minister Haider Jawad Kadhim al-Abadi to ask for an international independent commission to investigate and document crimes committed by ISIL/Da’esh in Iraq.  She also appealed to Member States to ensure that human traffickers faced sanctions for their crimes, to contribute to the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, to establish international safe zones and to take in refugees fleeing brutal wars.

Action

The Council then unanimously adopted resolution 2331 (2016).

Statements

MARIANO RAJOY, Prime Minister of Spain and Council President for December, spoke in his national capacity, describing trafficking in persons as a clear threat to human dignity, but also to international peace and security representing the reincarnation of slavery.  The moral imperative of fighting trafficking and all contemporary forms of slavery was clear, and action by the Council was imperative, he emphasized.  Today’s resolution was the Council’s first action on trafficking in persons, and proposed the means to strengthen the normative framework as well as sanctions in fighting the phenomenon.  While responses to trafficking had been scattered until now, combating it required efforts from all parties, including the Council, he said, stressing that no country or agency could do it by itself.

Pointing out that trafficking was not new, he said what was new was its use as a means to terrorize and finance terrorism.  Da’esh was openly promoting the trafficking of women and children, he said, underlining that trafficking in conflict situations was not limited to terrorism, as had been seen in the mass displacement of vulnerable people in Syria and Iraq.  Spain’s plan to fight trafficking entailed strengthening coordination with civil organizations and security agencies, he said, adding that it had developed a counter-narrative to radicalization.  Underscoring the need to monitor social networks, he said the next five years would be an opportunity to place trafficking at the centre of United Nations priorities.

SERGIY KYSLYTSYA, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, associated himself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union delegation, saying that trafficking in persons had been a focus of United Nations attention in past decades.  Over the past few years, however, there had been an evolution in the types of trafficking in persons, particularly in areas of conflict.  Terrorist groups such as Da’esh used sexual violence as a weapon of war, openly promoted trafficking in persons as a means to finance their activities, and as a military strategy.  An ongoing problem was that data were underestimated owing to fear of reprisals, stigma, lack of access by monitors and lack of accountability.

 The resolution just adopted should facilitate evaluations of the situation on the ground as well as recommendations, he said, emphasizing the connection between trafficking and gender-based violence.  Describing the fight against trafficking as a priority for his country’s protection of human rights, he asked that the United Nations include in several mandates the problem of sexual violence in areas of Ukraine occupied by the Russian Federation, including Crimea.  Cases of sexual violence in those territories should be identified, he stressed, noting that the crimes in Crimea provided an opportunity for the United Nations to ensure that the Russian Federation accepted its responsibilities under the United Nations Charter.  The unacceptably high level of impunity created a vicious cycle of criminality, he said, emphasizing the priority of fighting impunity.

RORY STEWART, Minister of State, Department for International Development, United Kingdom, said the testimony heard from Nadia Murat was not simply a story of violence, but underscored that human trafficking was a way of slavery, and a form of war.  Having personally been in Iraq after the situation in Sinjar, he said he couldn’t believe the depth of the horror and the damage it had done to a civilization.  Today, the Security Council was gathered to focus on practical action.  Humility must be fundamental to its approach, as it was difficult to operate in a conflict environment.  The international community must be honest about gaps in its knowledge.  Regarding implementation, he said that at the heart of the international community’s response must be an understanding “not just of what we can do but what we ought to do”.  It was easy to talk in the abstract about coordination, but the question was fundamentally about resources and institutional culture.  The United Kingdom was focusing on the issue of accountability in Iraq and with the Iraqi Government it had set up a task force on implementation and coordination. 

KORO BESSHO (Japan) welcomed the unanimous adoption of the resolution, the first Council resolution to address trafficking of humans during conflict, which was connected to sexual violence and other international criminal activity.  Trafficking in persons could be used as a tactic by terrorist groups, and it was being used systematically by certain terrorist groups and non-State actors as a tool to destroy communities.  The international community was responsible for removing that threat by holding accountable those who engaged in such activities.  To recognize and address the situation, the Security Council must have relevant information.  The Convention against Transnational Organized Crime was an essential international framework for combating trafficking in persons.

RAFAEL DARÍO RAMÍREZ CARREÑO (Venezuela) aligning himself with the statement to be delivered by Bahrain on behalf of the Group of Friends against Trafficking, said extremists were trafficking people to finance the scourge of terrorism.  The creation of groups like ISIL facilitated the committing of crimes against civilian populations; Venezuela demanded all actors of the international community to respect international law provisions pertaining to a ban on providing weapons to such groups.  The international community must act in a coherent political and moral way.  The resolution adopted today was a concrete contribution to addressing situations of armed conflict and to coordinating strategies to combat extremism and terrorism.

LUIS BERMÚDEZ (Uruguay) said that given the unprecedented mass migration crisis, refugees and internally displaced persons had become the main targets of traffickers.  Trafficking not only violated human rights and degraded the human condition of victims, but was also a threat to society and the security of nations.  It affected all the world’s regions and most of its victims were targeted for the purpose of sexual exploitation.  Describing conflict as one of the main elements of trafficking, he said the self-named Islamic State was an example.  The resolution adopted today recognized trafficking as a cross-cutting issue, and highlighted the need for cooperation and information sharing, he noted.  Increasingly, human trafficking was linked to conflict and a threat to peace and security, he said, emphasizing the need to focus on assistance for victims.  It was of key importance that trafficking victims not be punished for crimes they might have committed when subjected to trafficking, he stressed, proposing that the UNODC and the Council work in close coordination with the Peacebuilding Commission.

FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France), associating himself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union delegation, described trafficking in persons as one of the world’s most profitable activities.  Women and girls were generally the first victims of terrorist groups, he said, adding that  Da’esh had established a market in Iraq, where women and girls were sold for use as sexual slaves.  Such actions constituted war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, and those responsible would need to answer for their atrocities.  Women and children, as well as human rights law should be protected.  Emphasizing that the fight against trafficking and sexual violence was a top priority for his country, he stressed the need to take into account the link connecting human trafficking, sexual violence and terrorism.  A more in-depth analysis of the threat was needed, he added.

RAMLAN BIN IBRAHIM (Malaysia) said traffickers in persons debased victims as mere chattel for the profit of others.  That was especially the case in areas of conflict.  Non-State armed groups including by Da’esh and Boko Haram were actively engaging in human trafficking to fulfil their distorted view of the world as well as for financial purposes.  Welcoming the adoption of today’s resolution, he said it reinforced the existing international anti-trafficking framework.  It was imperative to strengthen cooperation between States and regional and international organizations, he said, calling upon all States to ratify the Palermo Protocol and other instruments.  Asian countries had demonstrated a unified front against trafficking in persons and had established a Plan of Action, he said, adding that the Council must better utilize available tools to monitor trafficking and identify perpetrators.  Targeted sanctions should also be established, he said, emphasizing the need to support victims as they returned to a secure and stable life.  Community and religious leaders were pivotal in reintegrating victims by lifting the stigma often attached to them.

GERARD VAN BOHEMEN (New Zealand) said the effects of trafficking were exponentially worse in conflict situations, as evidenced by the testimony of Nadia Murad, the young Yazidi women who addressed the Council last year.  The Secretary-General’s annual report and briefings on specific conflicts illustrated the ways in which trafficking was fuelled by and exacerbated conflict situations.  Nevertheless, the evidence presented on those phenomena was deeply troubling, he said, calling for collective action to confront the problem.  In that context, the Council had a responsibility to engage in the full spectrum of international security issues and integrate those issues into its work.  That meant ensuring that the impact of trafficking and sexual violence was appropriately reflected in its consideration of specific mandates and country situations.  In addition, the Council needed to make active use of international tools at its disposal, including the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, which had been effective in following and cutting the relevant sources of finance.

WU HAITAO (China) said resolution 2331 (2016) would help the international community protect the rights of women and children.  It was incumbent upon the international community to step up protection and remove the root causes of conflict while fighting transnational organized crime.  Trafficking in persons had become a source of funding for terrorist groups, and the international community should employ many tactics, including political means to cut off financing channels and suppress all forms of transnational organized crime.  Noting that many affected countries faced a lack of resources and capacity, he emphasized the need for the international community to provide them with support upon request.  To deepen international cooperation, the United Nations as well as subsidiary bodies should leverage advantages, strengthen coordination and work to address the problem, he stressed.

VITALY I. CHURKIN (Russian Federation) thanked all delegations for their condolences upon the murder of his country’s Ambassador to Turkey.  Noting human trafficking’s worrying link with terrorism, he said his country was a signatory to the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.  Transnational criminal groups were earning profits from human trafficking, which was accompanied by drug trafficking.  Member States had decided that during the seventy-first session of the General Assembly they would review progress in implementing the Global Plan of Action, he said, adding that in examining that issue, it was important to adhere to the mandates of United Nations bodies.  Condemning the barbarity of extremists, he called upon the international community to work more closely together, with the United Nations playing a coordinating role.  He described “insinuations” by the representative of Ukraine as unacceptable and “absurd in some ways”.

SARAH MENDELSON (United States) said that thanks to the efforts of civil society, greater attention was being paid to the horrors of modern slavery, but in 2016, children were still lured by human traffickers.  Thanks to the work of Special Representative Bangura and her staff, the Security Council had proof that young women were being sold on a daily basis.  Though much attention had focused on conflict in the Middle East, trafficking in conflict zones was not a new phenomenon, and despite attention and outrage, there were critical gaps in efforts to combat it, she said, emphasizing that the international community’s ability to stop abuse and deliver assistance to victims was inadequate.  While it was critical to close the information gap, knowledge was but one critical aspect, she said, stressing that the resolution just adopted recognized that individuals subjected to sexual violence were victims of terrorism and should be provided with the support available to other such victims.  The United States looked forward to strengthening international cooperation in combating trafficking, she said.

ISMAEL ABRAÃO GASPAR MARTINS (Angola) said the basic approach in countering trafficking in persons was to improve the socioeconomic situation of the most vulnerable.  Human trafficking in conflict situations had led to trade in women and girls and forced marriage, tactics used by terrorist groups such as Boko Haram and armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The issue had a multiplying effect on conflict situations.  That was an issue of international peace and security as it undermined the rule of law and contributed to other forms of international organized crime, which in turn exacerbated conflict.  Angola had developed mechanisms to combat that type of crime, including by establishing shelters for the victims, he said.

AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt) said human trafficking was a form of contemporary slavery that constituted a violation of human rights, describing his country as a transit State in a region where armed conflicts were raging.  The adoption of today’s resolution was a landmark in the Council’s history, he said, while stressing that its provisions should be limited to trafficking in persons in relation to conflict, as the General Assembly had the issue of general trafficking covered.  Urging the international community to redouble its efforts to put an end to all sources of financing for terrorist groups, including human trafficking, he emphasized that the crime was not related to any civilization, religion or culture.  Cooperation between the United Nations and the private sector could help to break the links between consumption and procurement sides of human trafficking.

GORGUI CISS (Senegal) said multiple conflicts exacerbated the displacement of civilians exposed to risk, including being targeted by criminal and terrorist groups.  Reiterating his country’s concern about human trafficking by non-State groups, including terrorist groups, he said their goal was to change the composition of a community or to humiliate religious or ethnic groups.  Due attention must be paid to rehabilitating and reintegrating victims and addressing the concerns of affected communities, he emphasized.  Trafficking in humans also contributed to instability, he said, stressing the importance of prevention.  It was also important to assist in the reintegration of victims and to ensure accountability for perpetrators, he said, noting that religious leaders could play an important role in deconstructing the terrorist narrative.

Ms. JAQUEZ (Mexico) said that within the context of trafficking and conflict situations, women and girls were among the most vulnerable.  The UNODC global report on trafficking in persons reflected the deplorable global situation that claimed victims every day, and its findings should help to prevent and combat the crime.  Full compliance with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was another tool for tackling the structural factors that led to trafficking, such as extreme poverty and lack of opportunities.  In accordance with Sustainable Development Goal 16, there was a need to end illicit financial flows and the financing of criminal activities for the purpose of trafficking women and girls.  Mexico had implemented three actions, he said, citing its creation of legal reforms to investigate and sanction perpetrators, the establishment of a national judiciary to benefit from joint efforts by Government, civil society and academics, and a partnership with the UNODC to uncover specific and reliable information on trafficking trends in Mexico.

MARÍA EMMA MEJÍA VÉLEZ (Colombia) emphasized that trafficking in persons was a brutal crime, particularly for most vulnerable groups, including women, girls, refugees and internally displaced persons.  During Colombia’s long and protracted armed conflict, women and girls had played a crucial role in building a stable and lasting peace, she said, emphasizing that their rights should be guaranteed within a safe environment.  Citing the Secretary-General’s report on sexual violence in the framework of conflicts, she said that of all the peace processes delineated in it, only Colombia’s dealt with gender issues in a systematic fashion.

HARALD BRAUN (Germany), drawing attention to the risk of procurement and supply chains contributing to trafficking, said his country had prioritized that agenda during its Chairmanship at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).  In September 2015, Germany had organized a conference in Berlin with the aim of strengthening OSCE’s role as a mediator and pioneer of an internationally coordinated approach to human trafficking.  The risks of vulnerable persons falling victim to traffickers could be reduced through legal and safe routes, he said, describing resettlement and relocation programmes as a good way to achieve that.  Citing an example, he said Germany’s programme for Yazidi refugees from Iraq had reached 1,000 victims of ISIL terror.  “Every bit of help for the victims is also one step ahead in the long struggle against human trafficking,” he added.

GHOLAMALI KHOSHROO (Iran) said trafficking in persons must never be tolerated under any circumstances and should be dealt with decisively.  Given the trans-border nature of the crime, coordination and cooperation at the international level were essential to combating it.  Demand for trafficked victims must be addressed, he said, emphasizing also the need to ensure protection for victims.  One could not overlook the phenomenon’s root causes either.  Poverty, underdevelopment, unemployment, lack of socioeconomic opportunities and instabilities caused by external factors, including foreign intervention, all continued to perpetuate the trafficking cycle.  The international community’s indecisiveness in fighting terrorists “for the sake of geopolitical gains” had proven destructive, he said.  Abhorrent reports of the sexual enslavement of innocent women and girls were tragic and Governments supporting such criminals financially or ideologically must be held accountable and brought to justice.  The trafficking of women and girls by terrorist groups, sadly in the Middle East and Africa, was based on a horrendous mind-set, he noted.  “These criminalities begin in the minds of men and it is in the minds of men that we can fight them.”

MAURO VIEIRA (Brazil) described human trafficking as among the most despicable crimes known to humanity, saying it affected the most vulnerable, especially women and girls.  Brazil was particularly appalled by incidents of trafficking committed by ISIL, Boko Haram and other terrorist groups, which were frequently associated with sexual enslavement.  Trafficked persons were also subjected to organ harvesting, sexual exploitation or forced marriage, he said, emphasizing that the international community must do much more to combat those practices through closer cooperation among States and international agencies.  The international community must not criminalize migration while seeking to criminalize human trafficking, he said, stressing that actions should aim at protecting the rights of, and providing assistance to, those forced to leave their homes who fell prey to human traffickers.  In that regard, the international community had a responsibility to resolve the refugee crisis, he said, describing the criminalization of irregular migration as unacceptable since it ultimately nurtured human trafficking and fed disrespect for the rights of migrants.

MYRIA VASSILIADOU, Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, European Union, warned that trafficking in human beings could erode the administrative and legal order of a State, causing a deficit of sovereignty.  To confront that practice — a grave violation of human dignity specifically prohibited in the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights — the bloc had placed multilateralism at the core of its common external agenda and stood behind commitments in the New York Declaration.  Noting with concern the nexus between conflict- and post-conflict-related sexual violence and human trafficking, as well as references in the Secretary-General’s report to armed groups that often regarded the civilian population as a resource to be exploited, she stressed that trafficking was gender-specific and constituted a structural form of violence against women and girls.  In that regard, she called for a more gender-specific, targeted approach, as well as a focus on prevention and accountability as a deterrent.  “Any other approach comes too late for the victims of this deplorable crime,” she stressed.

The European Union was upholding and promoting international standards and working closely with the UNODC, she said.  While recognizing that the world was facing human displacement on the largest scale in history, it was also important to acknowledge that the issue went beyond any crisis.  In a world of 7 billion people, with demographic imbalances and growing inequalities, “migration has become the new normal”, she said.  Nevertheless, the links between trafficking in persons and both conflict-related and post-conflict sexual violence, including by extremist groups, needed to be better understood and combated.  It was well known that Da’esh used sexual violence systematically to mobilize resources and fund its operations, including kidnapping for ransom and the sale of women and girls.  In that context, it was particularly worrisome that the group was expanding its presence in Libyan areas that had in previous years functioned as major human trafficking routes.  In addition, she said, measures were needed to prevent and address the use of new technologies as a tool for recruiting victims of human trafficking, including in conflict areas and by terrorist groups.

KATALIN ANNAMÁRIA BOGYAY (Hungary), associating herself with the European Union, said the United Nations must play a bigger role in the fight against human trafficking.  The ratification and effective implementation of relevant international instruments, such as the Palermo Protocol and the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) 2014 Protocol to Forced Labour Convention was essential.  Strong prevention and protection efforts were also urgently needed to ensure that those impacted by conflict situations did not become vulnerable to traffickers.  Accountability for trafficking in persons in conflict was a must, she stressed, emphasizing that certain acts associated with trafficking in persons constituted war crimes.   While the International Criminal Court had a role, States had the primary responsibility for bringing those responsible to justice.  In that regard, States should make efforts to train their respective immigration authorities, police forces, prosecutors and judges, and effectively carry out criminal procedures, with regard to the particular nature of those crimes.  Hungary also supported the wider use of involvement in human trafficking as a basis for listing in United Nations sanctions regime.

SEBASTIANO CARDI (Italy) said that his country was focused on preventing and reducing demand for human trafficking, protecting victims, enacting anti‑discrimination measures and strengthening law enforcement and judicial cooperation on the matter.  In February, the Government approved a national action plan on combating trafficking in human beings.  That legal framework was victim‑centred, human-rights-oriented and gender- and child-sensitive.  At the international level, Italy promoted a holistic approach with a view to addressing the root causes of trafficking, finding political solutions to international crisis and promoting international cooperation and accountability measures.  Italy had expertise in providing tailored courses for police units.  The Centre of Excellence for Stability Forces Units in Vicenza had trained more than 10,000 units.  Regarding the financial flows stemming from trafficking, he stressed that existing mechanisms to curb money-laundering and terrorism financing could play an important role in monitoring migration routes.

CHRISTIAN WENAWESER (Liechtenstein), also speaking on behalf of Australia and Switzerland, said modern slavery and human trafficking were both causes and symptoms of instability and conflict, and they posed a threat to development and peace and security.  Trafficking in persons was a human rights violation and could constitute a war crime, a crime against humanity or even genocide.  Noting that the Global Slavery Index estimated that 45 million people were living in conditions that qualified as modern slavery — more than ever before — he stressed that every country was affected and it was the international community’s joint responsibility to put an end to those crimes.  The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provided a new platform to address such issues, reflecting their cross-cutting nature.  Indeed, as fighting human trafficking was a prerequisite for sustainable development and human rights protection, work on the issue much also be pursued with resolve in the General Assembly.

Underscoring the lucrative character of forced labour and human trafficking for organized crime, as well as the need to make use of existing criminal laws on anti-money laundering, anti-corruption and anti-bribery, he said the Council could play an important role by addressing the “protection gap” in existing international responses to the phenomenon of human trafficking.  In particular, an overwhelming number of cases were never prosecuted, even though States bore an obligation to do so.  The Palermo Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children, which supplemented the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, could make an important contribution in that regard, he said, adding that the particular impact on women and girls should also be taken into account by States in their humanitarian responses and their migration and human rights policies.  While the resolution adopted today was a good start, some paragraphs could have profited from further strengthening, for example with regard to the important role of the Financial Action Task Force to combat money laundering and regional bodies doing similar work.

TANMAYA LAL (India) said that India was a signatory to the Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols, and had addressed the various aspects concerning trafficking through a series of legislations.  Earlier in 2016, India had also unveiled a comprehensive draft legislation aimed at the prevention and protection of trafficking of persons and the rehabilitation of trafficked persons.  That draft aimed to unify existing anti-trafficking laws.  Noting that the nexus between organized traffickers and terrorist networks through illicit financial linkages was a dangerous phenomenon, and situations of armed conflict provided fertile ground for trafficking in persons, especially from vulnerable groups, he called for stronger international collaboration to implement the various existing mechanisms, including through more effective coordination of various United Nations entities.

MARC PECSTEEN DE BUYTSWERVE (Belgium), also speaking on behalf of Argentina, Netherlands and Slovenia, said that human trafficking ranked among the most serious concerns of the international community and represented the world’s fastest-growing criminal industry.  Asking what Member States could do to prevent it and ensure accountability for those who engaged in it, he noted that enslavement and conflict-related sexual violence were forbidden by a number of treaties, as well as customary international law.  Most Member States also considered those acts to be crimes against humanity and war crimes.  In most cases, they had the jurisdiction to prosecute such crimes that occurred fully or partly on their territory, although that often proved to be a challenging task because of the transnational nature of the crime.  As a result, States would have to rely on full practical and judicial cooperation from other States. 

An increasing number of States believed that the current international procedural legal framework for mutual legal assistance and extradition was incomplete and outdated, and a new multilateral instrument should be created, he continued.  As a result, Argentina, Belgium, Slovenia and the Netherlands were promoting negotiations on a multilateral treaty for mutual legal assistance and extradition for domestic prosecution of the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, to facilitate better cooperation between States so that they could comply with their international obligations.

JAN KICKERT (Austria), associating himself with the European Union, said his country had been recently affected by mass migration and refugee movements.  It had scaled up measures to enable active screening for potential victims of trafficking among migrants and refugees and to facilitate access to services for identified victims.  Austria was currently supporting projects aimed at building capacities of frontline officers and at improving identification and integration of victims of human trafficking along migration routes.  Conflict-related sexual violence, sexual enslavement and trading and trafficking in women and girls by terrorist groups were a shockingly common reality.  Hence, it was important to focus on the contribution and role of women in civil society in Syria and Iraq.  A substantial number of radicalized foreign fighters, including from Austria, had joined terrorist groups in conflict areas and might be perpetrators in instances of human trafficking.  Member States should consider establishing jurisdiction to prosecute instances of human trafficking committed by nationals abroad.  States had the primary responsibility to bring perpetrators to justice and end the climate of impunity. 

ASHRAF ELNOUR MUSTAFA MOHAMED NOUR, Director of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), said the crime of human trafficking remained largely overlooked in emergency situations by both governmental and non-governmental actors.  In conflict situations, the practice was often a consequence of the erosion of the rule of law, desperation of individuals further to the disruption of economic activities or the potential intrusion by criminal networks in refugee or internally displaced persons camps.  “Counter-trafficking efforts in emergencies are a matter of life and death,” he stressed, adding that employing such measures in crisis settings helped prevent individuals from falling victim to highly exploitative practices that could seriously impair their physical or psychological well-being or prove fatal.  IOM, in close cooperation with its humanitarian partners, had been consistently working on the issue, including by making extensive use of its Displacement Tracking Matrix tool to assess the exposure to trafficking along migratory routes and to measure the risk to actual and potential victims in camps and crisis-affected communities.

BOGUSŁAW WINID (Poland), associating himself with the European Union, said the findings of the Secretary-General’s report — particularly on the nexus between conflict-related sexual violence and human trafficking — were alarming.  The abduction of women and children, their systematic and wide-spread exploitation and abuse, including rape, sexual violence, forced marriage and sex slavery perpetrated by Da’esh, Boko Haram and other terrorist and armed groups were horrifying, deeply deplorable and demanded an immediate response.  Also expressing alarm about the wide-spread practice by armed groups of recruiting children, he also reiterated the primary responsibility of State authorities for ensuring the safety of their citizens, including members of ethnic and religious minorities.  Recalling that Poland had submitted the first draft of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime 20 years ago, he emphasized the need to accelerate the international response, including by building partnerships with civil society and the private sector.

JAIME HERMIDA CASTILLO (Nicaragua) said trafficking in human beings was a global problem that affected 29 million people, a direct violation of human rights and a destroyer of human dignity as well as physical and mental health.  Nicaragua was a small country with limited resources and yet it was making good on its commitment to the international community to tackle trafficking through legal instruments that detected incidents while protecting and rehabilitating victims.  It had adopted national legislation that punished perpetrators of trafficking.  Trafficking required examining root causes, he said, noting that it thrived in conflict zones.  Emphasizing that no country had the right to use force, or threaten its use, to resolve conflict, he said conflicts should only be resolved through dialogue.  The United Nations had a responsibility in that regard, he emphasized.

VIRACHAI PLASAI (Thailand) echoed concerns expressed by other speakers regarding the nexus between conflict-related sexual violence and human trafficking, particularly cases involving United Nations personnel and peacekeepers.  As a troop‑contributing country, Thailand welcomed efforts to address and respond to such cases, and reaffirmed its commitment to cooperating with the international community in combating all forms of human trafficking as a top national priority.  Thailand took a five-pillar approach to its work in that regard, focusing on policy, prosecution, protection, prevention and partnership.  Describing other elements of the strategy, he said the country had made consistent efforts to strengthen its judicial institutions and improve its proactive law enforcement in order to investigate cases, rescue victims and prosecute those involved with human trafficking syndicates in a timely and efficient manner.  It also placed a high priority on the protection of and assistance to victims, and encouraged Member States in a position to do so to contribute to the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children.

DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia) said his country’s Government had taken concrete action at the national, regional and international levels to combat human trafficking, but despite its strong collective push to raise the bar by stopping human exploitation, there had been defiance on the part of the perpetrators.  The international community must discourage trafficking in conflict zones, and invest in the prevention of conflict as one of the most effective protections against human trafficking.  The International Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, including in conflict settings, should be more robustly implemented, he said, emphasizing that the United Nations system’s capabilities should be enhanced to protect those who were vulnerable in times of conflict.  Furthermore, anti-trafficking measures should be incorporated into all humanitarian interventions in conflict zones as part of life-saving protection activities from the outset of any conflict.

MICHAEL DOUGLAS GRANT (Canada) noted that, in October, his country’s Parliament had recognized the findings of the Commission of Inquiry that atrocities committed by ISIL/Da’esh against the Yazidis of Sinjar constituted genocide.  It had also unanimously adopted a motion to provide asylum to the most vulnerable Yazidi women and girls within 120 days.  Sexual and gender-based violence was a serious barrier to community recovery after armed conflict, he said, stressing that in addition to providing services to survivors, the international community must hold perpetrators accountable.  He went on to applaud the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict as well as the partnership between the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) and Justice Rapid Response.  Human trafficking also created extraordinary profits for both terrorist and criminal organizations, he pointed out, highlighting Canada’s support for the work of the Security Council 1267 Committee and the Financial Action Task Force.

GONZALO KONCKE, Permanent Observer of the Organization of American States to the United Nations, said judicial systems should prevent the scourge of human trafficking, especially when it was used as a source of financing for terrorist groups.  Trafficking in persons was one of the most odious expressions of human barbarity, and prolonging the suffering of its victims was a violation of international human rights law.  Human trafficking’s link with organized crime was an undeniable reality, and the Organization of American States had been working against it with others, including the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), with funding from the European Union.  Human trafficking called for a multidimensional approach, and the legal dimension of related crimes must emerge as a key pillar of the work of Member States, he said, adding that building capacity was another crucial element in improving border controls and preventing the passing of forged documents.

ION JINGA (Romania), associating himself with the European Union, said it was important to find the best ways to help survivors cope with physical and psychological trauma.  Peacekeeping personnel deployed in peace operations must play an enhanced role in that regard.  Prior to deployment, Romanian personnel deployed in United Nations peacekeeping operations and special political missions received special training in identifying and protecting victims of human trafficking, he said, adding that helping victims required addressing their needs on a case-by-case basis in order to ensure they had access to medical and psychosocial assistance as well as legal aid.  Noting that human trafficking for purposes of financing the activities of terrorist groups was becoming stronger, he said continued implementation of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing tools, including sanctions regimes, would contribute further to stopping the practice.  At the national level, Romania had partnered with civil society, recognizing that preventing and tackling human trafficking required a multidisciplinary approach, he said.

DAVID YITSHAK ROET (Israel) said trafficking in persons should outrage every single person because it debased fellow human beings.  The international community must condemn the actions taken by the Government of Syria that continued to amplify the magnitude of human trafficking crimes.  That Government must uphold its international obligations and prevent the use of child soldiers, protect women sold as sex slaves and prosecute traffickers, whether they were Government officials or terrorists.  Noting that his country Israel had not been spared, he outlined ways in which Israel had fought human trafficking through prevention, prosecution, protection and partnerships.  Uprooting the plague of trafficking and slavery required partnerships at all levels, including efforts between Governments and civil society.  Israel had invested in intelligence and law enforcement to identify trafficking networks, prosecute perpetrators and enforce tough sentences, he said, adding that it had also introduced a network of services to help locate trafficked persons and provide support to victims who had been given a safe place to stay, legal aid, work visas as well as the medical and psychological support they needed.

MARTÍN GARCÍA MORITÁN (Argentina) said that even though the risk of trafficking in persons could be seen as increasing in conflict zones, the United Nations had already developed intricate instruments with which to combat it.  In 2010, the General Assembly had adopted a Global Action Plan against trafficking in persons, offering a clear mandate for the UNODC to develop its vast experience to implement appropriate mechanisms to tackle the problem.  Argentina had long been committed to the fight against human trafficking and recognized that it endangered basic dignity.  On the national level, Argentina had established a federal council to prevent and fight trafficking and exploitation.  Comprising representatives from various ministries, it carried out campaigns to raise awareness with the aim of tackling sexual exploitation, he said, adding that civil society also had a role to play in combating human trafficking.

ALYA AHMED SAIF AL-THANI (Qatar) said recent reports had shown appalling statistics on the spread of human trafficking as well its causal relationship with conflict.  With forced migration at the forefront of conflicts that had pushed thousands to seek a more secure life, the challenge facing the international community was to tackle the root cause:  protracted and new conflicts.  Such civilians faced dangers either within their own countries or in those to which they had migrated.  Terrorist groups added to the danger as they recruited young people to undertake terrorist operations, she said.  The international community had failed to address those issues, she said, urging the Security Council to end the conflicts and crises in the region surrounding Qatar, as well as in the wider world at large.

CAITLIN WILSON (Australia), drawing attention to the vulnerability of people to trafficking, said:  “We have a shared responsibility to disrupt this evil trade and address its root causes.  No one State or organization can do this alone.”  For its part, Australia was working with countries in the Asia-Pacific region to stamp out those barbaric and criminal practices, and to find innovative development approaches.  Through the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Human Trafficking and Related Transnational Crime, it was working with Indonesia to reinvigorate efforts to secure regional cooperation.  In March, Australia had adopted the Bali Declaration, which represented strengthened political commitment to protecting vulnerable people on the move.  In May 2017, the Bali Process Business Forum would be launched to bring together private sector leaders from the 45 Member States to focus on best practices in eradicating human trafficking and slavery, and to make recommendations to ministers.

BERNARDITO CLEOPAS AUZA, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, noted that the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of measures to counter trafficking in persons showed the complexity and multifaceted nature of the issue.  Many causes and factors aided and abetted contemporary forms of slavery, such as trafficking in persons.  Among those causes were poverty, underdevelopment and exclusion, particularly when combined with lack of access to education or scarce employment opportunities.  However, the biggest single factor that facilitated trafficking in persons was armed conflict.  Trafficking flourished alongside today’s refugee crisis, which had been primarily provoked by wars and conflicts.  For the fight against trafficking in persons to be effective, the international community must unite in the common commitment to bring an end to fighting, hatred and violence.  The Holy See encouraged the Security Council to continue fighting against the scourge of trafficking in persons, primarily through the prevention and ending of armed conflict.

CATHERINE BOURA (Greece), associating herself with the European Union, said there was a need to crack down on the enormous profits generated by traffickers by following their financial trails and using all available investigative tools to prosecute the perpetrators.  Irregular undocumented migrants were particularly vulnerable to exploitation, which made the nexus between trafficking and irregular migration more relevant than ever.  While some countries had strengthened border controls to curb migration flows, many migrants had turned to organized criminal networks to arrange their border crossings.  As the first entry point for most of the migrants and refugees arriving in Europe, Greek authorities were well aware of the challenges involved, he said, adding that his country had established a national initiative focused on coordinating different stakeholders with the aim of protecting vulnerable persons, including women, girls and unaccompanied children.  Emphasizing that combating human trafficking was not merely about implementing laws and penal codes, she said it was critical to uphold human dignity, first and foremost.  “Traffickers and warlords are relying on our failure to protect vulnerable people,” she added.

MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh) said trafficking and forced labour constituted the “heart of darkness”.  It was evident that some international terrorist groups had resorted to trafficking in persons to bolster their power, recruitment base and finances, he noted, adding that certain State authorities remained complicit with the activities of human trafficking networks.  Noting the comprehensive resolution adopted today, he said he would have preferred an inclusive, participatory approach to the text, given its importance.  Despite robust counter-trafficking legislation and action plans, prosecutions and convictions in trafficking-related cases remained low, he said, urging all source, transit and destination countries to ensure their adherence to relevant international legal instruments.  The stigma of human trafficking should be shifted from the victims to the perpetrators, and accountability and justice for victims should remain above undue politicization, he emphasized.  Training and sensitization on trafficking in conflict situations would add value to relevant United Nations peacekeeping operations, and any link between trafficking and abuse by peacekeepers should be based on credible information and evidence.

BOUCHAIB ELOUMNI (Morocco) said trafficking undermined human dignity and values, and was also a direct consequence of conflict and disaster.  Armed conflicts were a breeding ground for traffickers because the absence of the rule of law allowed them to finance wars by providing sexual services.  Non-State-armed groups exploited vulnerable people for sexual ends and for military recruitment at an unprecedented scale, he said, adding that they had opened slave markets using modern technologies such as social networks in order to sell their victims.  The resolution adopted this morning was a historic step by the Security Council and a tool to reverse the pernicious phenomenon of trafficking, he said, adding that it would help States to punish such crimes.  Morocco had ratified a number of international conventions in that field, including the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, he said.

SIMA SAMI BAHOUS (Jordan) expressed hope that the resolution adopted today would yield the momentum to combat the trafficking of human beings.  Terrorist groups had been carrying out the worst forms of slavery and other heinous practices against all international principles, she said, noting that the current unprecedented flow of migrants and refugees was directly linked to human trafficking.  The international community must consider the challenge in a comprehensive way, she said, emphasizing the need for a holistic approach focused on development.  “We must pool our efforts to stand behind the 2030 Agenda,” she added.  “Da’esh is not a Muslim Group, it a terrorist group.”  It was critical to promote the inclusion of youth in forging peace and fighting trafficking.  In regard to fighting impunity, she urged States that had not yet done so to ratify the relevant instruments.

MARCELO ELISEO SCAPPINI RICCIARDI (Paraguay) said the Security Council and other relevant United Nations bodies must continue to protect vulnerable people, including victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.  The current mass migration was exacerbating violence and vulnerability, and uprooted people lacked access to medical services or education.  It was critical to ensure that victims did not become “doubly stigmatized”.  He emphasized the need to uphold principles of non‑intervention in the affairs of States and urged Member States as well as the United Nations to cooperate with States in conflict and post-conflict situations in order to ensure they were capable of tackling the human trafficking.

FRANTIŠEK RUŽIČKA (Slovakia) recalled that human trafficking was currently the third‑largest international crime industry, generating a reported profit of $32 billion annually – including $15.5 billion in industrialized countries.  Every minute, at least one person was trafficked across international borders, he said, adding that “we must do more than express our strong condemnation” of the phenomenon.  One priority was to make better use of the existing global Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols.  Equally important were the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, which specifically addressed human trafficking; the fulfilment of international obligations concerning women and armed conflict; the protection of and provision of assistance to victims; closer cooperation between the United Nations and regional, sub‑regional and cross-regional bodies; the international protection of migrants; and enhanced conflict resolution.

CHRISTIAN BRAUN (Luxembourg) said the newly adopted text would ensure that human trafficking remained on the Security Council’s radar.  Luxembourg, for its own part, had provided maritime surveillance aircraft in order to dismantle human trafficking networks in the southern part of the Mediterranean Sea.  On the regional level, the Benelux countries had adopted a declaration with a view to strengthening cooperation and providing assistance to victims.  Among other things, the Government had made legislative updates in order to bring those responsible for human trafficking and sexual exploitations to justice, he said.

YASHAR T. ALIYEV (Azerbaijan) said that his country had adopted a comprehensive legal framework for effective action against human trafficking, and had developed a national action plan with a view to defining the responsibilities of State institutions and facilitating coordination among them.  Furthermore, the Government had created an inter-agency task force led by a national coordinator and a specialized police unit within the Ministry of Internal Affairs.  Armed groups often viewed civilian populations as a resource or commodity to be trafficked, he said, emphasizing that ending criminal activities during conflict required strong commitment to the creation of binding obligations.

JAMAL FARES ALROWAIEI (Bahrain), speaking on behalf of the Group of Friends United against Human Trafficking, commended the leading role of the UNODC, UNHCR, ILO and the IOM in giving an indication of the scale and location of the most serious trafficking problems.  Trafficking in persons in armed conflicts was an evil that must be faced and overcome through effective international cooperation.  Armed conflicts spawned terrorist groups which exploited people.  Creating the proper environment to address human rights violations should be a cornerstone of the mandate of peacekeeping operations.

The Group of Friends United against Human Trafficking encouraged strengthened cooperation between the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons and other international organizations, as well as Member States, including through its role in coordination and cooperation with global and regional anti-trafficking programmes.  He also encouraged all to fund the UNODC Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking so it could continue its operations.  The forthcoming review in 2017 of the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons would be a critical moment to analyse efforts.  Despite the Security Council’s important role on the issue, the General Assembly should lead all matters related to trafficking in persons.

GÜVEN BEGEÇ (Turkey) said that human trafficking constituted a violation of human rights and an offence to the dignity and integrity of human beings.  It was also a form of serious transnational organized crime that bore immense costs on the social and economic fabric of societies.  The scale of humanitarian emergencies was making people increasingly vulnerable.  The rise in forced displacement was heightening the risks for human trafficking of displaced women and children, who were more affected by displacement.  Expanded mobility brought together new challenges and responsibilities. As such, better coordination was needed to end migrant smuggling and human trafficking.  At the same time, the use of human trafficking by terrorist organizations was concerning and the nexus between conflict-related sexual violence and human trafficking needed to be better understood.  As the biggest refugee hosting country, Turkey undertook measures to prevent trafficking of people that had fled the horrors of conflict.

GEOFFREY ONYEAMA (Nigeria) said conflict situations exposed civilians, especially women and girls, to such grave dangers as human trafficking, sexual violence and slavery, adding that terrorist groups had introduced a new dimension.  Nigeria was pleased to announce that it had defeated Boko Haram militarily and would not relent until it had freed all hostages and reunited them with their loved ones.  In that regard, Nigeria acknowledged the important role its neighbours were playing in the fight against the terror group, he said, emphasizing the importance of a coordinated approach in order to enhance overall effectiveness in fighting human trafficking and terrorism.  There was also need for greater commitment to implementation of relevant international instruments, he added.  Overall, the fight against human trafficking in conflict situations was beyond the capacity of any one State, he said, emphasizing that it required concerted action at the global and national levels, complemented by strong leadership by the Security Council.

LOURDES ORTIZ YPARRAGUIRRE (Philippines) said that trafficking in persons required a multifaceted response that understood the problem from political, socioeconomic and cultural perspectives, and brought together all relevant stakeholders.  With a view to protecting migrant workers from trafficking and exploitation, the Philippines had partnered with the United States to improve responses.  In addition, her country’s national strategic action plan used a migrant-centred approach to the entire migration cycle.  By examining trafficking corridors, the Philippines had been able to strategically locate victims and traffickers, identify critical points in the business flow, and develop strategies to stop the means employed by traffickers.  Poverty alleviation programmes targeting conflict-torn areas must integrate trafficking in persons as an indicator, and they must ensure access to economic services and opportunities.

FRANCISCO TENYA HASEGAWA (Peru), describing trafficking in persons as slavery in the twenty-first century, emphasized the need to put an end to that phenomenon by dismantling transnational illicit networks and imposing heavy sentences.  At the same time, it was critical to adequately support victims and restore their dignity.  For its part, Peru had undertaken various measures, including creating a law against human trafficking and implementing a national action plan while paying attention to social drivers.  However, successful results would not be possible without cooperation, he said, calling for carefully articulated regional and international responses.

EMMANUEL ROUX, Special Representative, Office of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), expressed his sympathies to the Russian Federation in light of the previous day’s events.  INTERPOL was entirely devoted to supporting Member States in combating atrocities that undermined human rights and it had built a team that focused specifically on human trafficking.  His organization’s support was operational and aimed to dismantle criminal networks operating in various regions.  From 2009 to 2016 its activities had saved 3,000 victims and it had trained over 1,500 police officers and agents in member States.  Concerning partnerships, Interpol had a group of experts on human trafficking and also organized an annual conference open to public and private actors.  The theme of its 2017 programme was training and operational support, particularly in conflict zones.

GEIR O. PEDERSEN (Norway), speaking on behalf of the Nordic countries, stressed that human trafficking was being committed by organized criminal networks and armed groups at an increasingly large scale, sometimes supported by State actors, and often with impunity.  Billions of dollars were generated by the practice each year, which fuelled conflict and hampered development.  For terrorists, such as ISIL, Boko Haram and Al-Qaida, trafficking and slavery were tools to humiliate and frighten enemies and make money for their operations, he said, also recalling the reference in the Secretary-General’s report to smugglers requiring sex as payment for passage.  That report confirmed that there was an evolving criminal infrastructure designed to exploit refugees and migrants through human trafficking and sexual slavery, he said, emphasizing the need for a strong and concerted international effort to oppose those powerful criminal networks.  International organizations and instruments such as the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime should be better utilized in that regard.  Civil society also had a key role to play.

JEAN-MAX BELLERIVE (Haiti), drawing attention to the link between conflict and human trafficking, said the crime heightened vulnerability and undermined human rights all over the world.  In making progress against human trafficking, it was crucial to bolster security, create conditions that were conducive to development and dismantle terrorist networks.  Alleviating poverty was also critical, he said, acknowledging that as a long-term solution, it would mitigate underlying factors.

LAURA ELENA FLORES HERRERA (Panama) said her country’s Government was in line with international actions under the Palermo Protocol, a common foundation for punishing those responsible for human trafficking and protecting victims.  As a transit route and destination point for migrants, Panama sought to adopt modern laws to address human trafficking and was strongly committed to fighting forced labour because more than 20 million were victims.  The support of the UNODC and the IOM were crucial in providing States with the resources to implement anti‑human trafficking strategies, she said, adding that one major challenge in prosecuting such crimes was gathering data and evidence.  It was important to share best practices and to review preventive actions, in line with the 2030 Agenda.

ŽELJKO PEROVIĆ (Montenegro) said that human trafficking in conflict was a growing concern, particularly in the context of the current migration crisis but also in terms of an increased use of social media platforms and new technologies to recruit victims.  The use by ISIL/Da’esh and Boko Haram of slaves was not just the problem of a few countries; it was an international issue.  Montenegro focused on prevention and education, criminalizing trafficking in persons, and disrupting criminal and terrorist networks.  He expressed his support of international peace operations and noted that his Government strongly condemned cases of sexual exploitation in United Nations peacekeeping operations.  Zero tolerance and zero impunity must prevail in order not to tarnish the Organization’s credibility.  At the international level, the Security Council’s role was vital, particularly with regard to the ISIL/Da’esh and Al-Qaida sanctions regime.

KANAT TUMYSH (Kazakhstan), associating himself with the Group of Friends United against Human Trafficking, commended the tireless efforts and special expertise of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and other relevant United Nations systems.  His delegation supported a strengthened coordination between the Inter-Agency Coordinated Group against Trafficking in Persons and Member States that would enhance the effectiveness of the response to the current challenges of human trafficking.  The threat of terrorist organizations was a matter of special concern for his country.  Human trafficking was a critical component in the financial flows of terrorist groups, and money laundering by organized crime networks, which posed a threat to international peace and security.  In that context, he urged States to mobilize a stronger and more vigilant global response.

ÁLVARO MENDONÇA E MOURA (Portugal) said that any effective intervention against trafficking must be based on common and coordinated efforts, stressing that cooperation between countries of origin, transit and destination was crucial to addressing human trafficking resulting from conflict.  The issue demanded collective action not only from Government, but also from the international community, civil society, media, academia and others.  Portugal had developed its first National Plan Against Trafficking in Human Beings in 2007, involving several sectorial ministries, the private sector and civil society organizations.  The third such plan was currently being implemented for the period 2014-2017, entailing 53 policy measures in the following five strategic areas:  prevention, awareness‑creation, information and research; education and training; protection, intervention and capacitation; criminal investigation; and cooperation. 

TIM MAWE (Ireland) said the Security Council could act as an important accountability mechanism in conflict-related sexual violence cases.  It could also bolster other accountability measures by actively deploying women protection advisers in peacekeeping missions, referring cases to the International Criminal Court and supporting regional and national accountability systems.  A greater focus on conflict prevention would have a direct impact on human trafficking, which presented far too big a challenge for any one entity to confront on its own.  Although the Council must address the issue, the international community must look beyond the Chamber to find a comprehensive solution, he emphasized.  Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals would be crucial in that regard, he said.

SAAD ABDULLAH N. AL SAAD (Saudi Arabia) said that while the Security Council’s meeting  was proof that the international community strove to eradicate human trafficking, it was unfortunate that such crimes continued to occur all over the world, with millions of people, including women and girls, targeted.  At the national level, Saudi Arabia had enacted a number of laws and regulations to bring those responsible for human trafficking to justice.  A law enacted in 2009 had been an important step in that regard.

KINTU NYAGO (Uganda) said East Africa had experienced much conflict, which had exacerbated the problem of human trafficking and made women and children particularly vulnerable to organized criminal networks.  Conflicts in the Central African Republic, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia and more recently in South Sudan continued to expose the most vulnerable segments of the population to such networks.  A number of reports had recently revealed some of the most horrific incidents experienced by children and women, he recalled.  The Government of Uganda had recently launched an initiative to investigate human trafficking abuses in order to devise appropriate measures to address the problem effectively, he said, calling for harmonization of legislation that would provide for judicial mechanisms to harshly punish and deter would-be offenders.  It was important to recognize that human trafficking was closely intertwined with other forms of transnational organized crime like money laundering and international terrorism, he noted, emphasizing that Uganda would continue to play a key role in fighting terrorism in East Africa and in engaging with partners to address conflicts in the neighbourhood.

Ms. BAKURMUTSH (Rwanda) said that human trafficking was a global security threat that directly affected displaced persons and refugees.  It was important to combat that crime in the countries of origin, transit, and destination.  Rwanda was developing national measures and had taken an active role regionally in the East African Cooperation Framework, which was commissioned to devise mechanisms to prevent human trafficking.  Rwanda was a State party to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and subsequent Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children.  Member States, civil institutions and the private sector should join together to support the fight against human trafficking on all fronts. 

AMANUEL GIORGIO (Eritrea) said human trafficking was a transnational crime affecting almost every nation and violating basic rights.  Given its multidimensional nature, strengthened coordination between the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons, Member States and other stakeholders would bolster efforts to combat human trafficking.  The practice was more acute along migration routes where vulnerable communities and individuals continued to be subjected to sexual violence, degrading treatment, organ harvesting, murder and ransom, he said, adding that the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons would play a critical role in harnessing collective action towards advancing the fight against human trafficking.  Eritrea had taken concrete steps in contributing to that goal by establishing legal and institutional frameworks, as well as dismantling criminal networks, he said.  It was also actively involved in the Khartoum Process and other relevant initiatives, including in cooperation with the UNODC.

BELEN SAPAG MUÑOZ DE LA PEÑA (Chile) said the abuse of trafficking victims for purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labour had become a hallmark of armed conflict and humanitarian crises.  The international community had witnessed armed groups using sexual violence and the enslavement of girls as a terrorist tool.  At the same time, conflict-fuelled humanitarian crises had led to the exponential increase in migratory flows and internal displacement.  As such, political solutions were needed to address migratory governance and the situation of groups vulnerable to trafficking, he said, emphasizing that the Council had an ethical responsible to support that objective.  Chile encouraged greater coordination between national judicial systems and the United Nations in order to combat human trafficking as well as exchanges between specialized agencies aimed at addressing fragmentation in that sphere.

MAHMOUD SAIKAL (Afghanistan) said human trafficking continued unabated in different parts of the world, particularly in countries stricken by conflict.  It was particularly prevalent in countries that suffered at the hands of terrorists.  Extremist groups in South Asia had abducted people as a means to finance their criminal activities, and the link between human trafficking and terrorism remained a serious concern demanding urgent attention.  Addressing some of the underlying factors driving violent extremism should not be separated from efforts to combat human trafficking, he emphasized.  One of the best ways to tackle the problem was to prevent conflicts from arising in the first place and resolving them wherever they occurred.  Doing so would stem the enabling environment that fuelled the problem.

FEH MOUSSA GONE (Côte d’Ivoire) said that resolution 2331 (2016) was a relevant instrument for combating human trafficking and strengthening other existing initiatives, such as the Secretary-General’s zero-tolerance policy on sexual abuse and exploitation.  Since 2002, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had regularly adopted resolutions with a view to punishing perpetrators, supporting victims and creating awareness-raising campaigns, he said.  Furthermore, the Government of Côte d’Ivoire had enacted a law prohibiting human trafficking and child labour, he said.

Resolution

The full text of resolution 2331 (2016) reads as follows:

The Security Council,

Recalling Presidential Statement 2015/25,

Taking note of the Secretary-General’s reports S/2016/949, as well as S/2015/203 and S/2016/361,

Recalling its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations,

Recalling 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, and further recalling the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons,

Recognizing that trafficking in persons in areas affected by armed conflict and post-conflict situations can be for the purpose of various forms of exploitation, including exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs; further recognizing that trafficking in persons in armed conflict and post conflict situations can also be associated with sexual violence in conflict and that children in situations of armed conflict and persons displaced by armed conflict, including refugees, can be especially vulnerable to trafficking in persons in armed conflict and to these forms of exploitation,

Reiterating the critical importance of all Member States fully implementing relevant Security Council resolutions, including resolutions 2195 (2014) and 2253 (2015), which express concern that terrorists benefit from transnational organized crime in some regions, including from the trafficking in persons among others, as well as 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; and recognizing the connection between trafficking in persons, sexual violence and terrorism and other transnational organized criminal activities, which can prolong and exacerbate conflict and instability or intensify its impact on civilian populations,

Expressing deep concern that acts of sexual and gender-based violence, including when associated to trafficking in persons, are known to be part of the strategic objectives and ideology of certain terrorist groups, used as a tactic of terrorism and an instrument to increase their finances and their power through recruitment and the destruction of communities, as described in the relevant Secretary-General’s Reports; that trafficking in persons, in particular women and girls, remains a critical component of the financial flows to certain terrorist groups; and that, when leading to certain forms of exploitation, is being used by these groups as a driver for recruitment,

Recognizing that trafficking in persons entails the violation or abuse of human rights, and underscoring that certain acts or offences associated with trafficking in persons in the context of armed conflict may constitute war crimes; and recalling further the responsibilities of States to end impunity and to prosecute those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes as well as other crimes and the need for States to adopt appropriate measures within their national legal systems for those crimes for which they are required under international law to exercise their responsibility to investigate and prosecute,

Expressing solidarity with victims of trafficking in persons, including victims of trafficking in persons in armed conflict and post-conflict situations and in humanitarian crisis derived from them; noting in this regard the importance of assistance and services for the physical, psychological and social recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration; recognizing the extreme trauma experienced by the victims of trafficking in persons in the context of armed conflict and sexual violence in conflict, and that humanitarian organizations should consider this vulnerability in humanitarian planning,

Reaffirming that trafficking in persons in the context of armed conflict, especially women and girls, cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, or civilization,

Emphasizing the importance of engaging religious and traditional leaders, paying particular attention to amplifying the voices of women and girls alongside men and boys, with the objective of countering terrorism and violent extremism which can be conducive to terrorism, refuting the justification of trafficking in persons in the context of armed conflict and sexual or other violence in conflict, addressing the stigmatization suffered by survivors and facilitating their return and reintegration in families and communities,

Recalling all its resolutions on children and armed conflict that call for the protection of children affected by armed conflicts; condemning all violations and abuses against children in armed conflict and noting in particular that the recruitment and use of children in violation of applicable international law by parties to armed conflict can be associated with trafficking in persons; expressing grave concern over the high numbers of girls and boys among persons trafficked in armed conflict and their heightened vulnerability to violations and abuses, including girls and boys who are forcibly displaced by armed conflict, particularly when separated from their families or caregivers,

Recalling resolution 2249 (2015), in which the Security Council condemns in the strongest terms the gross, systematic, and widespread abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law by ISIL (also known as Daesh), and resolution 2253 (2015), in which the Security Council condemns in the strongest terms abductions of women and children, including by ISIL, ANF, and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities, expresses outrage at their exploitation and abuse, including rape and sexual violence, forced marriage, and enslavement by these entities, and notes that any person or entity who transfers funds to ISIL directly or indirectly in connection with such exploitation and abuse would be eligible for listing by the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999), 1989 (2011) and 2253 (2015) concerning ISIL (Da’esh), Al-Qaida and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities,

Noting with concern the criminal misuse of information and communications technologies, particularly the Internet, to facilitate the trafficking of persons, in particular the sale and trade, by certain terrorist groups and emphasizing the importance of countering such use as part of counter-terrorism efforts while respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms and in compliance with other obligations under international law,

“1.   Condemns in the strongest terms all instances of trafficking in persons in areas affected by armed conflicts, and stresses 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 and instability and undermine development;

“2.   Calls upon Member States:

(a)   That have not yet done so, to consider as a matter of priority ratifying or acceding to and to fully implement the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children, as well as all relevant international instruments;

(b)   To take decisive and immediate action to prevent, criminalize, investigate, prosecute and ensure accountability of those who engage in trafficking in persons, including in the context of armed conflict, in which it is particularly important that evidence of such crimes be collected and preserved so that investigations and prosecutions may occur;

(c)   To investigate, disrupt and dismantle networks involved in trafficking in persons in the context of armed conflict, in accordance with national legislation, including anti-money laundering, anti-corruption and anti-bribery laws and, where appropriate, counter terrorism laws, and underscores in this regard the importance of international law enforcement cooperation, including with respect to investigation, documentation, and prosecution of trafficking cases, calls in this regard for the continued support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and other relevant United Nations entities, and international and regional bodies, including INTERPOL, as appropriate, in providing technical assistance upon request and within their existing mandates, and encourages Member States to consider establishing jurisdiction in line with article 15 of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime;

(d)   To implement robust victim, and possible victim, identification mechanisms and provide access to protection and assistance for identified victims without delay, also in relation to trafficking in persons in armed conflict, including where such victims are refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), and to address comprehensively victims’ needs, including the provision of or access to medical, psychosocial assistance and legal aid, as well as ensure that victims 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; calls in this regard for the continued support of UNODC and other relevant United Nations entities, including UNHCR, as well as international and regional bodies, including IOM, in assisting Member States, upon request, with identification of and assistance to trafficking victims;

“3.   Encourages Member States to:

(a)   Build strong partnerships with the private sector and civil society, including local women organizations, and to redouble their efforts by encouraging these actors to provide information helping to identify, disrupt, dismantle and bring to justice individuals and networks involved in trafficking in persons in areas affected by armed conflict, including by training relevant officials such as law enforcement personnel, border control officers, labour inspectors, consular or embassy officials, judges and prosecutors and peacekeepers to identify indicators of trafficking in persons in areas affected by armed conflict in supply chains;

(b)   Consider that in some circumstances trafficking in persons in armed conflict in all its forms and sexual violence in conflict can cause large movements of refugees and migrants; recalls the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and/or its Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees; and furthermore urges that all refugee-receiving countries provide information on the services available to victims of trafficking and sexual violence survivors, ensure sustainable psychosocial support and provide survivors with the option to document their cases for future legal action to hold traffickers accountable, and that due consideration is given to clarifying and securing the legal status of undocumented refugee children, including refugee children conceived as a result of sexual violence or exploitation, to avoid situations of possible statelessness;

“4.   Encourages the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and FATF-Style Regional Bodies (FSRBs) to consider including an analysis of financial flows associated with trafficking in persons that finance terrorism as part of its ongoing work, in close cooperation with CTED, the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team and with UNODC;

“5.   Calls on those Member States who have not yet done so to develop the expertise of their Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) to analyse cases of trafficking in persons that finance terrorism, and encourages them to work together to develop that capacity, and, in this regard, further encourages Member States and relevant UN entities and other international and regional organizations to provide other States which may need so, upon their request, with the financial, material and technical assistance that they may require to build the capacity mentioned above;

“6.   Calls on Member States to consider reinforcing legal and regulatory measures to facilitate the sharing of information, both domestically and internationally, between law enforcement and regulatory actors and the private sector as well as within the private sector, in line with applicable international and national law, to help identify and detect suspicious financial activity related to trafficking in persons that finances terrorism, while also recognizing the need to protect the confidentiality of personal data of victims;

“7.   Recalls its decision, in resolution 1373 (2001) that all Member States shall ensure that any person who participates in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts or in supporting terrorist acts is brought to justice, urges all States to ensure that their domestic laws and regulations establish serious criminal offenses sufficient to provide the ability to prosecute and penalize in a manner duly reflecting the seriousness of the offence of trafficking in persons committed with the purpose of supporting terrorist organizations or individual terrorists, including through the financing of and recruitment for the commission of terrorist acts;

“8.   Stresses that acts of trafficking in persons in armed conflict and sexual and gender-based violence in conflict, including when it is associated to trafficking in persons in armed conflict, can be part of the strategic objectives and ideology of, and used as a tactic by certain terrorist groups, by, inter alia, incentivizing recruitment; supporting financing through the sale, trade and trafficking of women, girls and boys; destroying, punishing, subjugating, or controlling communities; displacing populations from strategically important zones; extracting information for intelligence purposes from male and female detainees; advancing ideology which includes the suppression of women’s rights and the use of religious justification to codify and institutionalize sexual slavery and exert control over women’s reproduction; and therefore encourages all relevant actors at the national, regional and international level to ensure that such considerations are taken into account, in accordance with their obligations under international law and national laws;

“9.   Underlines further that achieving the strategic objectives noted above may entail the use of various forms of sexual violence in conflict, also when associated with trafficking in persons in the context of armed conflict, including, inter alia, rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution and forced pregnancy, and notes that these different forms of sexual violence in conflict may require tailored programmatic responses including specialized medical and psychosocial assistance and analysis as a basis for action;

“10.  Affirms that victims of trafficking in persons in all its forms, and of sexual violence, committed by terrorist groups should be classified as victims of terrorism with the purpose of rendering them eligible for official support, recognition and redress available to victims of terrorism, have access to national relief and reparations programmes, contribute to lifting the sociocultural stigma attached to this category of crime and facilitate rehabilitation and reintegration efforts; furthermore emphasizes that survivors should benefit from relief and recovery programmes, including health care, psychosocial care, safe shelter livelihood support and legal aid and that services should include provision for women with children born as a result of wartime rape, as well as men and boys who may have been victims of sexual violence in conflict, including when it is associated with trafficking in persons in armed conflict;

“11.  Condemns all acts of trafficking, particularly the sale or trade in persons undertaken by the ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ (ISIL, also known as Da’esh), including of Yazidis and other persons belonging to religious and ethnic minorities, and condemns also any such trafficking in persons and violations and other abuses committed by Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, the Lord’s Resistance Army, and other terrorist or armed groups for the purpose of sexual slavery, sexual exploitation, and forced labour, recognizes the importance of collecting and preserving evidence relating to such acts in order to ensure that those responsible can be held accountable, and notes that such acts may also contribute to the funding and sustainment of such groups or to serve other strategic objectives as outlined in paragraph 5 above;

“12.  Expresses its intention to consider targeted sanctions for individuals and entities involved in trafficking in persons in areas affected by armed conflict and in sexual violence in conflict, and encourages information exchange and other appropriate forms of cooperation between relevant United Nations entities, including the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict and the Special Representative on Children in Armed Conflict, within their respective mandates, regarding initiatives and strategies to curb trafficking in persons in the context of armed conflict;

“13.  Expresses further its intention to integrate the issue of trafficking in persons in the areas affected by armed conflict and sexual violence in conflict into the work of relevant sanctions committees where in accordance with their mandates, and to ensure that sexual violence in conflict expertise, including when it is associated with trafficking in persons in the context of armed conflict consistently informs the work of sanctions committees, and further expresses its intention to invite the Special Representatives of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict and on Children and Armed Conflict to brief these sanctions committees, as necessary, in accordance with the Committee’s rules of procedure, and to provide relevant information including, if applicable, the names of individuals involved in the trafficking in persons who may meet the committees’ designation criteria;

“14.  Requests the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, when consulting with Member States, to include in their discussions the issue of trafficking in persons in the areas of armed conflict and the use of sexual violence in armed conflict as it relates to ISIL (also Known as Da’esh), Al Qaida and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities and to report to the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999), 1989 (2011) and 2253 (2015) on these discussions as appropriate;

“15.  Encourages Member States to ensure that existing national strategic frameworks and national action plans against trafficking in persons national action plans and other planning frameworks on women and peace and security, developed through broad consultations, including with civil society, and comprehensive and integrated national counter-terrorism strategies are complementary and mutually reinforcing;

“16.  Requests the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), within its existing mandate, under the policy guidance of the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), and in close cooperation with UNODC and other relevant entities, to include in CTED’s country assessments, as appropriate, information regarding Member States efforts to address the issue of trafficking in persons where it is committed for the purpose of supporting terrorism, including through the financing of or recruitment for the commission of terrorist acts;

“17.  Encourages UNODC and other relevant United Nations entities, including UNHCR and UNICEF, and other international and regional bodies, including INTERPOL and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), to continue supporting upon request, in accordance with their respective mandates and expertise, Member States efforts to develop such capabilities, including through the exchange of information and the strengthening of networks for regional and international cooperation in relation to trafficking in persons in areas affected by armed conflict; and in this regard, encourages further the abovementioned entities and bodies to train their personnel to prevent and respond appropriately to trafficking in persons in areas affected by armed conflict in all its forms and sexual violence in conflict; support the tracking and identification of individuals and groups responsible for the trafficking in persons in the context of armed conflict; share relevant information to ensure accountability; enhance cooperation in documentation, extradition and legal assistance and enhance public awareness to combat trafficking in persons in armed conflict, including when it is associated with sexual violence in conflict and facilitate accountability;

“18.  Takes note with appreciation of the efforts undertaken by the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict and the Team of Experts on Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict to strengthen monitoring and analysis of sexual violence in conflict, including when associated with trafficking in persons in armed conflict and post-conflict situations, used as a tactic of war and also as a tactic by certain terrorist groups, as well as in seeking concrete and time‑bound commitments and implementation plans by all parties to conflict to prevent and address such crimes in line with resolutions 1960 and 2106, and encourages a more systematic approach and the acceleration of such efforts; furthermore requests information, as appropriate, on practical measures undertaken by parties to the conflict pursuant to the abovementioned commitments and implementation plans;

“19.  Further encourages Member States to provide training to all peacekeeping personnel to be deployed in UN peace operations in conflict and post‑conflict zones on responding to trafficking in persons in the context of armed conflict, gender expertise, sexual exploitation and abuse prevention and assessing sexual violence in conflict as a component of pre-deployment training, and to ensure that this consideration is integrated into the performance and operational readiness standards against which troops are assessed;

“20.  Urges relevant UN agencies operating in humanitarian crises derived from armed conflict and post-conflict situations to ensure, in accordance with their respective mandates, that the risk of trafficking in persons in armed conflict is considered in protection of civilians and humanitarian needs assessments, that they build their technical capacity to assess situations for instances of trafficking in persons in armed conflict and that they work together to identify, prevent and respond effectively to victims of trafficking; and calls upon the Inter-Agency Standing Committee to strengthen the humanitarian community’s response to addressing trafficking in persons in armed conflict and exploitation during a crisis through existing protection mechanisms and programming;

“21.  Invites the Secretary-General to integrate, when relevant, the issue of trafficking in persons in the context of armed conflict and post‑conflict situations in all its forms as a factor in conflict prevention strategies, conflict analysis, integrated missions’ assessment and planning, peacebuilding support and humanitarian response; requests that relevant mission and thematic reporting to the Security Council includes information relating to trafficking in persons in the context of armed conflict and recommendations to address it; requests further that the Secretary-General takes steps to improve the collection of data, monitoring and analysis of trafficking in persons in the context of armed conflict, in order to better identify and prevent its incidence;

“22.  Welcomes further briefings on trafficking in persons in armed conflict, as necessary, by relevant United Nations entities, including the Executive Director of UNODC, and other international and regional bodies such as IOM; and encourages further consideration of the perspective and experience of civil society representatives, in particular of survivors of trafficking in persons in armed conflict, in briefings to the Security Council in relevant country-specific considerations and thematic areas, in accordance with established practice and procedure;

“23.  Requests the Secretary-General to follow-up the implementation of this resolution and report, within twelve months, on strengthening coordination within the United Nations system, including through the United Nations’ Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons (ICAT), to prevent and counter trafficking in persons in armed conflict in all its forms, and to protect those affected by armed conflict at risk of being trafficked, especially women and children; and further requests that this report also consider, inter alia, options for:  strengthening efforts by existing subsidiary bodies of the Security Council, Security Council-mandated peace keeping operations and special political missions, in accordance with their respective mandates, as well as by Member States; data on geographical areas, routes or locations where patterns of trafficking in persons in armed conflict are being developed, in coordination with all relevant UN entities; and recommendations for UN agencies to mitigate the risk of contributing to trafficking in persons in armed conflict through procurement and supply chains;

“24.  Decides to remain actively seized of this matter.”

For information media. Not an official record.