Together Against Trafficking in Human Beings

Side-event on combating trafficking in persons, especially women and girls: Implementing United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons and other preventative measures

Side-event on combating trafficking in persons, especially women and girls: Implementing United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons and other preventative measures

Commemorating the European Anti-Trafficking Day, this side-event, co-organized by the Permanent Missions of Cyprus and Qatar to the UN, and the Delegation of the EU to the UN, intends to contribute to the dialogue on eradicating trafficking in persons around the world.

Trafficking in women and girls is undoubtedly a gross human rights violation and a manifestation of violence against women and girls. Like other forms of gender-based violence, such as domestic abuse and structural violence against women and girls, trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation has its roots in wider gender and social inequalities, and has wide social implications, beyond the obvious and immediate impact on its victims. It is also fueled by demand for sexual services that fosters exploitation. Recent gender disaggregated figures, as presented in the UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2016, show an alarming trend indicating that women and girls are at higher risk of being trafficked for sexual exploitation. Despite regional differences in relation to trafficking trends and measures taken to combat the phenomenon, a comprehensive response to trafficking in persons remains key to address the many challenges. Therefore, sharing experiences of different member states from perse regions will be of great value in reflecting about how to apply global norms and standards and how to better prevent and combat trafficking in women and girls. The participation of regional and international organizations will further enrich the discussions by illustrating how they can assist States in their efforts.

With the participation of the EU, UN Women, UNODC, and member states, the event aims at:

  • Evaluating efforts and progress made in achieving relevant SDGs
  • Sharing experiences and exchanging good practices on national, regional and international instruments
  • Discussing strategies and measures to prevent trafficking in women and girls, including by addressing the root causes of demand for sexual services that fuels trafficking
  • Providing an opportunity for further discussions towards achieving effective solutions both at national and international levels
  • Allowing member states to discuss their most successful preventative practices as important lessons learned

Background: According to the UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2016, 71% of all detected trafficking victims are women and girls, with trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation and forced labour the most prominent forms. According to the same report, trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation is the most reported form (67%) and the majority of its detected victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation are women and girls (96%). In addition, data on country-level gross domestic product (GDP) confirms that the richer the country of destination, the larger the share of detected victims from distant origins, Europe being the region with the widest range of origins of victims.

On 27 September 2017 during the UN High Level Meeting of the General Assembly (GA) for the Appraisal of the UN Global Plan of Action to combat Human Trafficking, the GA declared the adoption of a Political Declaration on the implementation of the UN Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons (resolution 72/1). The Political Declaration made a clear connection between the Global Plan of Action and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) emphasising mutual reinforcement, especially in relation to SDG 5 (To achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls), SDG 8 (To promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all), and SDG 16 (To promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels). The Political Declaration also underlines the gender dimension of trafficking in human beings and recognises and reaffirms its commitment to address the social, political, economic, and cultural factors that make people vulnerable to trafficking, especially in relation to women and children. Equally important is the subsequent commitment from member states to intensify their efforts in combating the demand side of trafficking, especially for women and children. They also committed to escalate their efforts to pass legislation to effectively deter exploiters and traffickers and ensure that they are brought to justice.

Opening remarks:

  • H.E. Mr. Kornelios Korneliou, Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the UN
  • H.E. Ms. Alya Ahmed Saif Al Thani, Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the UN · H.E. Mr. Jοãο Vale de Almeida, Ambassador of the EU Delegation to the UN 


  • Dr. Myria Vassiliadou, EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator
  • Dr. Purna Sen, UN Women Executive Coordinator and Spokesperson on Addressing SexualHarassment and Other Forms of Discrimination
  • Mr. John Brandolino, UNODC Director for Treaty Affairs pision
  • Ms. Josie Christodoulou, Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies Policy Coordinator (Cyprus)

Moderator: Ms. Simone Monasebian, Director UNODC/NY Office

Tuesday, 2 October, 2018 - 13:15