OSCE: EU Statement in Response to the Report by the Special Representative on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings

OSCE: EU Statement in Response to the Report by the Special Representative on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings

Finnish Presidency of the Council of the European Union

Permanent Council No. 634
9 November 2006

The EU thanks the Secretary General and the Office of the Special Representative for the comprehensive report, which is the first overall assessment of the action taken since 2004. The EU agrees with the main thrust of the report concerning the lessons that should be learned. We see them as substantive and thought provoking.

We especially note the statistics on trafficking in the OSCE region, which prove that unfortunately this issue is not being resolved quickly and will require our continued commitment. The EU also notes the reported national approaches, which reveal discrepancies and inconsistencies in identifying victims of trafficking. These can prevent States from taking adequate measures or co-operating effectively, and sometimes entail inappropriate protection and assistance. The EU agrees that more should be done to increase the level of preventive action, to ensure access to justice for victims and prosecution of perpetrators, as well as to improve co-ordination and the allocation of sufficient resources at the national level. 

The report also highlights some positive and encouraging developments that should convince us to pursue and intensify action taken by the OSCE. The progress made in implementing the provisions of the Action Plan is significant: the OSCE has succeeded in raising the awareness of the problems of trafficking . The OSCE also contributes significantly to improve the co-operation within the international community, especially within the Alliance against Trafficking in Persons. Both the participating States and the OSCE structures have cooperated actively to implement the Action Plan. Effective results have been achieved in terms of political commitments, national legislation and law enforcement, as well as in assistance provided to the participating States and in involvement of the OSCE institutions and field offices. We would like to emphasise the importance of effective cooperation and coordination between the OSCE structures. In this regard, we expect the upcoming Alliance Against Trafficking in Persons Conference “Human Trafficking for Labour Exploitation/Forced and Bonded Labour Prosecution of Offenders, Justice for Victims” to promote significantly the implementation of relevant commitments in the OSCE area.  We look forward to identifying relevant language from the discussions in this conference on trafficking for forced and bonded labour, to be included in a possible Ministerial Decision on Trafficking.

The EU is aware of the challenges clearly identified in the report and the work that still lies ahead. We should stay focused on the full implementation of the Action Plan. This should take into account the prevention of trafficking in human beings, protection of victims and prosecution of perpetrators in countries of origin, transit and destination. This is also the approach followed in the Action Plan on Human Trafficking of the European Union.

The EU sees this report as a good starting point for the new Special Representative, Mrs Eva Biaudet, whom we welcome and to whom we wish the greatest success in her endeavours.

The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia, EFTA country Iceland, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this statement.

* Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process