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27 Sep 2019

Belarus’ leading role in combating human trafficking in spotlight at UN General Assembly

MINSK, 27 September (BelTA) – Belarus’ Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei held the fifth ministerial meeting of the Group of Friends United against Human Trafficking on 26 September, on the margins of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly. Belarus was coordinating the meeting, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told BelTA.

The participants highlighted Belarus’ leading role in the fight against human trafficking on the international arena and expressed appreciation for the consolidation of the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons (ICAT). The speakers also provided updates on the progress in implementing the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, adopted on the initiative of Belarus in 2010. Also on the agenda were new challenges and threats that contribute to human trafficking, such as illegal migration, drug trafficking, technological advances, and social media. The main focus was put on the need to protect victims of trafficking and prevent their revictimization and criminalization. Preventive efforts to eliminate the primary causes of this social evil should remain in the spotlight. Participants of meeting reaffirmed the importance of building a stronger partnership of all those interested in combating trafficking in persons.

Belarus’ foreign minister called on the Group of Friends member states to support the resolution on “Improving the coordination of efforts against trafficking in persons”, which Belarus plans to submit to the UN General Assembly later this year.

The Group of Friends ministers adopted a declaration that will be distributed as an official document of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly.

Attending the meeting were OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger, foreign ministers and top foreign ministry officials of the Group of Friends member states, as well as several international organizations participating in the ICAT: the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, UN Women, the United Nations Development Programme, the International Organization for Migration, and the International Labor Organization. Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, was a guest of honor.

The Group of Friends United against Human Trafficking is an informal and voluntary association of UN member states, founded on the initiative of Belarus in 2010 to galvanize and bolster international efforts to counter human trafficking. The Group currently includes 23 countries from all regions of the world.

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