Remarks at the UNODC Launch of the 2022 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons

Nick Hill
Deputy Permanent Representative
New York, New York
March 21, 2023


Thank you very much. I want to congratulate UNODC and Executive Director Ghada Waly on the launch of its Global Report on Trafficking in Persons.

UNODC is an important partner to the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. We currently provide more than $19 million to support a variety of its initiatives in some 41 countries.

As we all know, UNODC is the guardian of the UN—otherwise known as Palermo—Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, with some 180 States Parties.

The protocol provides an important framework for all states parties, including the United States, to work together.

UNODC’s Trafficking in Persons Report helps us do exactly that – it provides the global community with a better understanding of current patterns and trends of human trafficking and, by doing so, enables us, as Member States, to deepen our collaboration to combat this crime.

To produce this report, governments collect data to identify gaps in our approaches, to detect trends, and to measure progress. UNODC’s Global Report goes one step further and brings this national data together to highlight critical issues and demonstrate trends across regions and globally — including the impact of conflicts on human trafficking.

I would be remiss, here, if I did not mention, as my Austrian and Romanian colleagues also have, one of those conflicts specifically – Russia’s unlawful, unprovoked, and premeditated war against Ukraine.

Russia’s actions have resulted in rampant opportunities for transnational organized crime to flourish.

We are already seeing an increase in indicators of human trafficking affecting refugees from Ukraine and internally displaced persons within Ukraine. This year’s UNODC report notes that the current conflict could generate an unprecedented number of victims if mitigation measures are not put in place.

We welcome UNODC’s recommendations for stronger national frameworks to identify and protect victims of trafficking, especially during states of emergency, as well as increased training, enhanced victim assistance, and capacity-building.

Amid the report’s sobering findings were glimmers of enduring courage and resilience. We continue to celebrate the adaptability and dedication of survivors and all those who combat human trafficking, particularly in the wake of the pandemic and in the face of a rapidly changing world.

Systemic solutions rely on broad, cross-border partnerships among governments, with the support of international and regional organizations. We encourage all states parties to continue prioritizing and enhancing anti-trafficking efforts. The United States is committed to supporting these efforts and to bringing traffickers to justice.

Thank you very much.