Closing Session – High-Level Conference on Strengthening the OSCE Response to Trafficking in Human Beings

As prepared for delivery by the U.S. delegation
to the OSCE High-Level Conference
“Strengthening the OSCE Response to Trafficking in Human Beings”
Kyiv, June 11, 2013

Over the past two days, representatives from governments, international organizations, and civil society came together to discuss strengthening the OSCE’s response to trafficking in human beings.  This is yet another example of our shared resolve to combat this serious crime and assist its victims, as they rebuild their lives and progress from victims to survivors of human trafficking.

As this conference comes to a close, we call on participating States to join us in reaffirming our resolve to implement fully our commitments to combat trafficking in persons inside and outside the OSCE region, and to do so in close collaboration with our Asian and Mediterranean Partners.  We also commit to working constructively with our partners on the development of an Addendum to the 2003 OSCE Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings, with a view to its submission at the upcoming Ministerial meeting in Kyiv.

In our discussions, experts and representatives from governments and civil society have highlighted the challenges, the shortcomings, the gaps, and yes, sometimes the successes, we encounter in the course of our endeavours to combat trafficking in persons.

We have discussed new strategies, such as the training of airline and other transportation professionals to ensure that they are equipped to identify and respond appropriately to human trafficking on public and commercial transportation.

Mr. Chairman, much work remains to be done—but we stand ready.  As Secretary Kerry said at the May 17th meeting of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons: “[W]e can’t solve this problem alone . . .  You’ve got to reach out to everybody and create partners.  So we’re going to begin that discussion in the private sector, media, the public here in the United States and abroad, everywhere.”

My delegation thanks the Chairman in Office for convening this two-day, high-level conference on combating trafficking in persons, and expresses its deep appreciation to the Government and people of Ukraine for being such gracious hosts.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.