Response to the Special Representative and Coordinator for Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings: Statement to the PC

Ambassador Jarbussynova, welcome to the Permanent Council for the first time as the Special Representative and Coordinator for Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings. We look forward to continuing our close cooperation with you and your team to combat the scourge of modern slavery.

The United States remains deeply committed to the fight against trafficking in human beings. Human trafficking is a global problem that cuts across national boundaries and the OSCE’s three dimensions of security. As such, it requires a coordinated global response by all countries. Over the course of the past 14 years, since the adoption of the decision on human trafficking at the Ministerial Council meeting here in Vienna in 2000, the OSCE has become a leader in the global response to trafficking.

The OSCE’s response to trafficking is rooted in the 2003 Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings and its 2013 Addendum, which serve as a model for countries outside the OSCE as well as for other regional multilateral organizations.

Organizing and leading the Alliance Against Trafficking in Persons is another valuable contribution the OSCE has made in the global fight against human trafficking. Recognizing that an effective response to modern slavery cannot be achieved by governments alone, the Alliance brings together international organizations, non-governmental organizations, businesses, religious groups, and other components of civil society to work together more effectively. The Alliance is a significant weapon in our arsenal against human trafficking, and provides further evidence of the effectiveness of incorporating civil society into OSCE activities.

The OSCE is also a leader in dealing with emerging forms of trafficking and in identifying new tools to use against the traffickers. For example, this year saw the launch of both a handbook on methods to counter trafficking of domestic workers in diplomatic households and a report on how to leverage existing anti-money laundering tools to contribute to the fight against human trafficking. These are but two examples of the cutting-edge work you and your staff are engaged in.

Ambassador Jarbussynova, the Special Representative’s country visits are another valuable tool in the OSCE’s contributions to the global fight against trafficking in human beings. These visits help the host countries identify areas for improvement in their efforts to combat human trafficking, and serve as a valuable channel for identifying and disseminating good practices among participating States. I hope that you will be able to make a formal country visit to the United States during your tenure as Special Representative.

All of these efforts help the OSCE remain at the forefront of the international struggle against trafficking in human beings. Regrettably, we have not provided you with the resources necessary to maintain this leadership role. The 2014 Unified Budget saw the de-facto reduction of OSCE-wide resources committed to combatting human trafficking by over 330,000 Euros. We can, and must, do better than that. Ambassador Jarbussynova, the United States firmly supports your request in the 2015 budget of two additional staff for your office as a partial offset of the previous reduction. And of course ODIHR has been and should be a crucial partner, and needs to be resourced accordingly as well.

Thank you again, Madam Ambassador, for the tremendous effort that you and your staff put into the vitally important work of combatting trafficking in human beings. We will continue to be a strong supporter of your work.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

As delivered by Ambassador Daniel B. Baer to the Permanent Council, Vienna