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11th Annual High-level Alliance against Trafficking in Persons Conference Opened Yesterday


(OSCE) - Human trafficking for labour exploitation is a new form of slavery that occurs on a massive scale, the OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, said today at an OSCE-hosted conference that highlights how decent work and social justice can prevent it.


The two-day event, which started yesterday, brings together more than 300 senior government officials, national anti-trafficking co-ordinators and rapporteurs, representatives from international and non-governmental organizations, law enforcement agencies and trade unions, as well as employers' organizations and migrants' rights groups.


Giammarinaro emphasized that trafficking for labour exploitation is best prevented by building a fair and democratic society that respects human rights and workers' rights and bans all forms of exploitation, including exploitation of migrant workers.


"Inequalities in income, education and opportunities are major root causes of trafficking, inducing many to migrate to seek for a better life. Due to growing inequalities in destination countries exploitation increasingly is seen as 'normal'. Therefore, social justice is at the core of a comprehensive and long-term strategy against trafficking," she said, adding that she worked toward this goal together with the whole Organization, including the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.


Yury Fedotov, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, who is taking part in the conference, backed up this inclusive approach, stating: "Trafficking in persons is a global challenge demanding a global response, strong partnerships and the commitment and engagement of all sectors. Only through international co-operation can we stop criminals making grotesque profits from the exploitation of human beings. We need to make global migration and the global labour markets safe for those who dream of a new life. Indeed, this is why human trafficking is so destructive to human dignity. It takes ordinary people's dreams for a better life and turns them into nightmares."


The conference is organized by the OSCE Office of the Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings under the auspices of the Alliance against Trafficking in Persons, an OSCE-initiated advocacy platform of major international and non-governmental organizations, including UNODC, the International Labour Organization, the International Organization for Migration, the Council of Europe, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Children's Fund, UN Women, the International Trade Union Confederation, the International Organisation of Employers, Human Rights Watch, Anti-Slavery International, La Strada International and many others.