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Delivered on behalf of the Permanenet Representative, Ambassador Antje Leendertse
Germany supports the Statement on behalf of the European Union. Smuggling of migrants and trafficking in human beings are serious crimes, and, furthermore, trafficking in persons is a severe violation of human rights, as it undermines the dignity and liberty of its victims.
Germany is, like other countries in Europe, affected by trafficking in persons, mainly - but not only - in the context of sexual exploitation. The COVID-19 pandemic has put victims of human trafficking in more vulnerable situations, including with a view to sexual and gender-based violence. The pandemic has also made it more challenging to identify and support victims of trafficking.
We are a member of the Palermo Convention´s Protocol on Trafficking in Persons, as well as the other pertinent international conventions, in the framework of the EU and the Council of Europe. We are currently establishing further national structures, in order to improve the mechanisms that help us to better collect and analyse data related to Trafficking in Human Beings (THB), better prevent, detect and punish trafficking in persons and protect and assist victims.
Considering the importance of combatting Trafficking in Human Beings (THB) and smuggling of migrants, we are highly concerned at the situation at the western Belarusian border. The regime in Minsk is still instrumentalising vulnerable human beings for its political objectives.
The Belarusian government plays with peoples´ hopes in a cynical manner. While the Belarusian regime seems to have finally provided emergency shelters, humanitarian access is still completely inadequate. The last months have shown that the regime in Minsk has no scruples to put the migrants’ lives and health in danger. Several people have already died in this awful situation and the responsibility for this is on the Lukashenka regime.
We call on the countries of origin and transit to intensify their efforts to contribute actively to ending this dramatic situation. We appreciate the measures already taken by the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government in order to enable their citizens to return home.
Let me close by reiterating Germany’s commitment to combatting trafficking in persons, as well as to protecting the victims and those who are especially vulnerable to that appalling crime.