National leadership structures are critical parts of an effective anti-trafficking strategy, say participants at annual anti-trafficking meeting
STRASBOURG, 6 June 2023 – How to enhance anti-trafficking national leadership structures is the focus of the largest annual meeting of the National Anti-trafficking Co-ordinators and Rapporteurs, which has started today at the headquarters of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France.
The Office of the OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings (OSR/CTHB) and the Council of Europe (CoE) co-organized the meeting, which concludes tomorrow.
More than 130 participants, representing nearly 60 countries from the Council of Europe and OSCE regions and beyond, are gathered to discuss ways to strengthen the mandates and roles of the National Anti-Trafficking Co-ordinators and Rapporteurs (NACs and NARs), or equivalent mechanisms. NACs and NARs are critical parts of an effective national anti-trafficking strategy, preferably placed in a high-level position in government and in independent human rights bodies, to better leverage, direct, and harmonize the different instruments of the anti-trafficking efforts and maximize their impact.
“The elevated risk for exploitation today means that there is a pressing need and obligation to take action. Success in overcoming the challenges we face requires national leadership,” OSCE Secretary General Helga Maria Schmid stressed in her welcoming remarks.
“Unfortunately, States are still not doing a good enough job at identifying and protecting victims of trafficking when the data tells us that less than 1% of all trafficking victims are ever identified, and far too few of those who are identified receive the services and support they need, tailored to their specific vulnerabilities and circumstances,” added Andrea Salvoni, Acting Co-ordinator of the OSCE OSR/CTHB, in his opening remarks
“Our collective duty is to ensure that the fight against human trafficking remains at the top of the political agenda at the national, regional and international levels,” stated Maria Spassova, Vice-Chair of the Committee of the Parties to the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. “The Reykjavik Declaration recently adopted by the Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe emphasized the need to combat human trafficking and foster international co-operation,” she added.
“The annual meetings of national anti-trafficking co-ordinators and rapporteurs provide a platform for exchange of information and ideas, and reinforce their resolve to guide action against human trafficking in the face of new challenges and competing priorities,” concluded Petya Nestorova, Executive Secretary of the Council of Europe Anti-Trafficking Convention.
Better identifying and assisting victims of transnational trafficking, enhancing proactive use of financial investigations, understanding and addressing trafficking in human beings for the purpose of forced criminality, and ways to enhance the mandates and roles of the NACs and NARs are among the topics to be treated during the working sessions of the two-day meeting.