Intervention by the Permanent Representative, Ambassador Andreas Hadjichrysanthou, at the UNODC event on the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons
Firstly, allow me to express our sincere appreciation to UNODC for the publication of the 7th Global Report on Trafficking in Persons as well as for organising this event. It is a great honour to be among distinguished speakers today, contributing to the discussion on how to end human trafficking and protect more victims.
Trafficking in persons exploits vulnerable women, men, girls, and boys of all ages; it violates fundamental human rights and offends human dignity. It is a serious crime often having a transnational character, and therefore particularly difficult to control. During the reporting period, the COVID-19 pandemic – as well as many other challenges around the globe, including conflicts and the climate emergency – has led to an increase of economic and social inequalities that are among the root causes of human trafficking.
As indicated in the UNODC Report, it is indeed worrisome that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the level of detection and the characteristics of trafficking. It is alarming that the pandemic restrictions may have driven some forms of trafficking in hidden locations, increasing the dangers for victims and making the crime less detectable to the authorities. This is why the UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons is of a great importance, shading light and providing the analysis needed to policymakers and practitioners in understanding the crime and assisting our common efforts in ending human trafficking.
Trafficking in persons is a global issue also affecting Cyprus. We are committed in ending human trafficking and we work towards this goal. Mindful of our time today, allow me to add in our discussion one more element that can assist our efforts to detect the crime and address its new characteristics: the financial aspect.
The sole purpose of trafficking in persons is the economic gain since it’s a crime generating high profits to perpetrators. In this regard, investigations into the financial aspects of human trafficking, such as following the financial trail the traffickers leave behind, are essential tools in our effort to identify and combat the crime.
In this regard, Cyprus has just published its first Strategic Analysis Report for financial institutions, providing guidance on how to identify and report suspicious transactions related to human trafficking. This Operational Alert aims to strengthen the partnership between actors of the private and public sector, assist the Cyprus’ Financial Intelligence Unit to disrupt the business model of traffickers, and enhance the overall efforts in preventing and combating trafficking in persons, with an aim to save and protect more victims.
Human dignity is non-negotiable and trafficking in persons can no longer be tolerated. In the effort to combat this crime, we need more than ever effective multilateralism and strong partnerships between Governments, the UN system, Civil Society, and the Private Sector.
I thank you.
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