Th UN Migration Agency (IOM) marks the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons
Speech of Head of Office, IOM Egypt, Mr. Amr Taha
Cairo, 30 July 2017
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is with great pleasure that I welcome you all to this important occasion to mark the World Day against Trafficking in Persons. In 2013, the UN Member States designated July 30 as the World Day against Trafficking in Persons as such a day was deemed necessary in order to “raise awareness of the situation of victims of human trafficking and for the promotion and protection of their rights.” This year, IOM Egypt has the privilege to mark this day together with our long-standing partner, the National Coordinating Committee for Combating and Preventing Illegal Migration and Trafficking in Persons, and the host, State Information Services.
IOM has been working to counter trafficking in persons since the mid-nineties. Globally, IOM has assisted over 90,000 trafficked persons through the provision of safe accommodation, medical and psychosocial support, and assisted voluntary return and reintegration. The short videos you see today highlight the various forms of trafficking that exist around the world – domestic servitude, transactional marriage and child exploitation being just three of them.
Let me share just a couple of facts about the trafficking in persons landscape globally:
- According to IOM statistics from last decade, the average age of a child entering the trafficking process was 11 years old.
- The majority of victims assisted by IOM in 2015 were trafficked for the purpose of labour exploitation (74 percent).
- Victims assisted by IOM in 2015 had spent an average of 3 years in the trafficking process, a time which could range from 0 to 25 years.
- Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, generating USD 150 billion per year in illegal profits. The highest profits are made in Asia Pacific because of the high number of victims, generating USD 51.8 billion in illegal profits. (International Labour Office. (2014) Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labour).
The Government of Egypt recognizes the importance of tackling this horrific crime and IOM is proud to note that it has worked together with the Government to develop a strategic vision and evidence-based framework to do so. A major milestone toward this goal was reached less than a year ago when the 2016-2021 National Strategy on Preventing and Combating Human Trafficking was launched. It is in this context that marking this day here in Egypt seems even more appropriate as it reminds us of the importance of addressing the phenomenon in comprehensive manner.
To date, IOM has supported the Government of Egypt in its efforts to address the issue of trafficking in persons by supporting the process of adopting the national counter trafficking law, reviewing the guidelines for identification and investigation of trafficking cases, developing awareness raising campaigns, enhancing protection system for victims of trafficking and developing capacity building activities for national stakeholders. IOM is committed to support the Government of Egypt to enhance its efforts to implement the Strategy. In fact, it is only earlier this week that IOM Egypt, in cooperation with the Committee, launched a set of capacity building trainings for civil society organizations and media professionals in order to raise awareness about the issue.
Ladies and gentlemen, while we are here today to mark the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, let us not forget the actual people that remain vulnerable to exploitation by traffickers. Our case workers interact with these individuals regularly and it is clear that their situations are as unique as the person sitting next to you at this event – the person may be from any part of the world, from any social class, any gender and any age. Let me assure you that IOM is firmly committed to working hand in hand with all members of the Committee to fight this crime.