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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations

Interactive Thematic Dialogue of the General Assembly
on Human Trafficking: “Taking collective action to end human
intervention delivered by
Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations


PANEL 1 : Where the UN Stands on a Global Plan of Action to End

Human Trafficking

13 May 2009, New York

Thank you, Mr. Moderator.

  • The Philippines is a co-sponsor of the request to convene this event. It expresses its gratitude to the President of the GA for organizing this thematic dialogue on the issue of taking collective action and coordination to end human trafficking. It also thanks the panelists for the perspectives they have shared in regard to the merits of a more coordinated response, particularly through a global plan of action, to end such trafficking.
  • Human trafficking is a gross violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In a world that prides itself as civilized, human trafficking is, I submit, not only a form of slavery; it is far worse than any form of slavery. Indeed, it is “a crime that shames us all.” It shames us because we have not done enough to remove the shame. It must be eliminated. It must be exterminated from this civilized world.

Many efforts, little synergy

  • Since the Trafficking Protocol came into being in 2000, many anti-trafficking approaches and efforts have been designed and implemented. At the United Nations, the Trafficking Protocol, along with the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) , among other instruments under international law, embody the legally binding international standards that guide our actions against trafficking. The Conference of States Parties of the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime has been enhancing its activity in the area of trafficking in persons particularly when it created an Open-ended Interim Working Group on Trafficking in Persons which, by the way, has already met in April 2009, and which will meet again later this year, to embark on a task of developing recommendations to strengthen the implementation of the Trafficking Protocol. In the area of normative and policy suasion, various resolutions dealing with the issue of trafficking in persons have been passed by the GA, the ECOSOC and its functional commissions such as the Commission for Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and the Commission on the Status of Women. The Human Rights Council has the Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, who has done excellent work in highlighting the human rights dimension of the problem. In the UN Secretariat, various departments and offices have been pooled together to compose the Inter-agency Cooperation Group against Trafficking in Persons (ICAT) to foster better communication and coordination of anti-trafficking efforts from within the UN system. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights came out with its Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights and Human Trafficking. The UNICEF has developed Guidelines on the Protection of Child Victims of Trafficking. Last year, the UNODC launched the Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (GIFT) to foster information sharing and networking. We also have he special offices of ILO and IOM. Lastly, based on the SG’s background paper for this dialogue, we are also informed of the continuing progress on a technical assistance tool developed by a group of experts, which appears in Annex III of the paper.
  • Mr. Chair, there are many more efforts against trafficking at the regional level and national levels. UNODC’s Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, copies of which we received this morning, shows the extent of these regional and national efforts. The Philippines is included in the report. The Philippines has done much more.
  • Yet, what is often the case is that all these efforts are largely fragmented and are without much meaningful interface and systematic coordination. The lack of synergy in our efforts drains the efficiency and effectiveness of each of these efforts, with some efforts being redundant and some issues left falling through the cracks.
  • It is, therefore, in addressing this need for synergy that a global plan of action, or better yet a global action program, can have the most impact. The plan of action or action program should not re-invent the wheel, that is, it should not be a document that repeats the norms, standards and approaches that are already contained in the Trafficking Protocol and other related instruments, the resolutions and other existing documents. The plan of action, while recognizing the best practices and comparative advantages and focus of the various anti-trafficking efforts, should concentrate on a continuing assessment of the quality of communication, coordination, cooperation and linkages among all actorsinvolved in anti-trafficking. The plan of action could identify indicators of how well the coordination and cooperation are carried out in order to help us have more evidence-based and measurable evaluations of the progress thus far made against human trafficking.

  • I thank you.



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