Agenda item 1.
Trafficking in Human Beings and its connections with illegal migration and organized crime
Let me thank you for organizing today’s meeting of the Security Committee and for giving me the floor. Also, I wish to welcome Ambassador Madina Jarbussynova back from Doha and thank her and the other panelists for their comprehensive presentations on this pressing topic.
Human trafficking and trade of humans for purposes of forced labor, slavery, extraction of organs and sexual exploitation are increasingly linked to the activities of human smugglers and remains serious challenges for all of us.
Afghanistan is in the process of gradually recovering from three decades of war and conflict. As is almost always the case in post-conflict scenarios, Afghanistan still has to deal with huge numbers of refugees and migrants, many of which have fallen prey to the cruel business of traffickers in human beings. Due to the post-conflict trauma, coupled with the economic situation as well as challenging security condition in some parts of the country, numbers of young Afghans, most of whom have been placed in refugee camps in neighboring countries, falsely trust human smugglers and traffickers who encourage them to choose the path of illegal migration, misleading them by promising them a better future. These most vulnerable groups are at risk of falling into the wrong hands where they will face inconceivable, terrible consequences, and even loss of life.
The newly formed National Unity Government of Afghanistan is committed to addressing all aspects of Trafficking in Human Beings. We have made significant efforts and have taken practical steps on the national, regional and international level to combat human trafficking and related organized crime. In terms of law enforcement, the Law on Countering Abduction and Human Trafficking was passed in 2008. An inter-ministerial committee including representatives from the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the National Directorate of Security has been established to combat human trafficking. All responsible line ministries, government bodies and the media, led by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, launched a country-wide public information campaign to increase awareness of human trafficking issues. Afghanistan also participates in the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime, and in August 2014, Afghanistan acceded to the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
In this context, let me commend the efforts of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for Afghan stakeholders, in particular in the areas of increasing public awareness, protection of victims, and training programmes for law enforcement officers and government officials. IOM started its work in Afghanistan in 1992 and has maintained an uninterrupted presence ever since. In February this year, the head of IOM Afghanistan, Richard Danziger, expressed concerns over the increase of human trafficking from Afghanistan to other countries.
As a Partner for Co-operation of the OSCE, Afghanistan remains committed to closely collaborating with the OSCE in all areas addressing human trafficking and related organized crime. We appreciate all efforts taken by the OSCE to combat this serious humanitarian challenge and tragedy. Taking this opportunity, I wish to state that Afghanistan seeks the continued support of the OSCE and international organizations to undertake analysis and to support the action of our government bodies.
In conclusion, let me state that we recognize that any durable, successful strategy must be regional and international in its scope.