To encourage better international coordination in fighting human trafficking, in September 2005 Belarus put forward an idea of forging a Global Partnership against Slavery and Trafficking in Human Beings in the 21st century. The partnership would seek to unite efforts and best practices of all major stakeholders in anti-trafficking activities and foster a concerted UN response to this hideous crime.
As a first step towards the Global Partnership, Belarus initiated a resolution ‘Improving the coordination of efforts against trafficking in persons’. Adopted by consensus in 2006, the first ever GA resolution on international coordination in combating human trafficking invited Member States to consider the elaboration of a UN action plan. The 2008 ECOSOC resolution ‘Strengthening coordination of the United Nations and other efforts in fighting trafficking in persons’, the next Belarusian initiative in a series of steps to facilitate the elaboration of a UN action plan, reaffirmed that appeal.
A clear call for an action plan was made at the 2007 International Conference 'Trafficking in Women and Girls: Meeting the Challenge Together'. The first global and all-engaging forum on human trafficking ever held in the UN Headquarters, the conference was organised by Belarus, the Philippines, UNODC and Vital Voices Global Partnership and gathered over 400 people from more than 90 Member States, around 20 international organisations and over 100 NGOs.
The need for a UN action plan was clearly expressed by many delegations at the General Assembly informal debate on fighting human trafficking on 3 June 2008 following the request from the Member States initiated by Belarus.
As a follow-up to the 2006 UN General Assembly resolution ‘Improving the coordination of efforts against trafficking in persons' Belarus initiated in the Third Committee the resolution, later adopted at the UNGA 63rd session by consensus. Pursuant to this resolution 63/194 the Member-States are invited to accelerate the consideration of the advisability of a global plan of action on preventing trafficking in persons, prosecuting traffickers, protecting and assisting victims of trafficking.
On 18 May, Deputy Foreign Minister of Belarus Sergei Aleinik held a meeting with Ms.Ezeilo in the Foreign Ministry that saw participation of representatives from the Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNDP Office in Minsk.
The meeting focused on the Belarusian initiatives in international organizations on bolstering global anti-trafficking efforts.
As a follow up to the GA Thematic Debate, the President of the 63 rd session of the General Assembly appointed Permanent Representatives to the UN of Cape-Verde and Portugal as the co-facilitators to start the process of informal consultations of Member States to draw up a United Nations global plan of action against human trafficking.
Belarus supported by Bahrain, Ecuador, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Qatar, the Russian Federation and UAE initiated the resolution 64/178 “Improving the coordination of efforts against trafficking in persons”. The resolution was adopted by consensus. More than 70 countries, including the entire African Group, China, India, Venezuela, Bolivia, Bangladesh, Thailand, became co-sponsors of this resolution. In accordance with the resolution, the Member States took note with appreciation the decision of the President of the General Assembly to start the process of consultations on a United Nations global plan of action and stressed the need for the consultations to be held in an open, inclusive and transparent manner.
Initiated by Belarus, the Group of Friends United against Human Trafficking was established in the United Nations. It currently consists of 20 countries (Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Nicaragua, Nigeria, the Philippines, Qatar, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, UAE, Uzbekistan and Venezuela ).
This Group of Friends is an informal, voluntary and open-ended association of Member States created to help to reinvigorate and consolidate the global fight against trafficking in persons.
The Group of Friends seeks to enhance the role of the United Nations in fighting human trafficking and to promote better coordination and cohesiveness of anti-trafficking efforts, including through elaboration and implementation of a global plan of action against trafficking in persons.
On the eve of consultations in the General Assembly on a global plan of action against trafficking in persons the Group of Friends drew up a non-paper which contains some arguments in favour of elaboration of a global plan of action and possible substantive elements of the future document. This non-paper was issued as an official document of the General Assembly A/64/691.