Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet
U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, NY
October 25, 2019
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you to the Permanent Missions of Belgium, the UK, Vietnam, Peru, and Niger, as well as UNODC, for hosting this important meeting. This is an important opportunity to hear from other member states, UN experts, and civil-society organizations on their efforts to address human trafficking and sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict areas. The panel’s presentations were particularly powerful and compelling for us all to renew our efforts to combat this horrific crime.
he United States is pleased to have played a leading role in 2015 in convening the Security Council’s first briefing on trafficking in persons in situations of conflict and post conflict. At that time, the Security Council heard the heart-wrenching account of Nadia Murad, a Yezidi survivor of sexual slavery at the hands of ISIS, who also saw several of her family members killed and her community decimated. We applaud Ms. Murad’s continued advocacy for the Yezidi community, her calls on the international community to bring the ISIS perpetrators to justice, and her service as a powerful voice for all survivors of human trafficking and sexual violence.
Since 2015, the UN Security Council has adopted resolutions 2331 and 2388 to address human trafficking and sexual violence in situations of conflict and post conflict. These resolutions underscore the importance of collecting evidence to hold perpetrators accountable. In view of the worrying global decline in prosecution of traffickers, all member states must redouble their efforts to provide justice to victims. Furthermore, the resolutions highlight the importance of international cooperation in law enforcement, the development of strong partnerships with civil society, and the importance of implementing robust victim identification, protection and support mechanisms.
We commend UNODC on working with other UN agencies to develop the 2018 Thematic Paper on Countering Trafficking in Persons in Conflict Situations. This paper outlines “promising practices” and provides useful recommendations to enhance responses by member states. We encourage all member states and UN agencies to use this important research in their anti-trafficking efforts.
In the U.S. context, our Department of Defense recently updated its “Combatting Trafficking in Persons” instruction that outlines the anti-trafficking roles and responsibilities for all Department of Defense components, services, and agencies.
The United States is committed to supporting civil society organizations in their efforts to combat trafficking in persons, including in conflict and post-conflict areas. For example, we are supporting the Heartland Alliance International in northeastern Nigeria to enhance the capacity of government, civil society and communities to protect and provide services for survivors of trafficking, particularly women and girls subjected to trafficking by combatants for forced labor or sexual exploitation. The project aims to improve identification and protection services, with a strong emphasis on mental health and psychosocial support, through the creation of replicable program models to help safely reintegrate and provide support to trafficking survivors.
We look forward to hearing from other member states and civil society on ways we can further mainstream the trafficking in persons agenda into the Women, Peace, and Security agenda.