I would like to extend a warm welcome to Dr. Kari Johnstone, to the OSCE in general, and to this council meeting and express our gratitude for her thorough report.
Norway is a firm supporter of the Special Representative’s victim-centered,
human rights-based approach in the work to combat trafficking in human beings. The work should rely on effective protection systems and seek sustainable solutions that are both inclusive and comprehensive.
The challenge of combating human trafficking spans across all three dimensions of our organization. Conditions such as war, conflict, and displacement greatly increase the risk of exploitation, including trafficking. The ongoing aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine has repercussions for our regional security and highlights the critical need to address human trafficking not only as a human rights issue but also as a matter of security.
We commend the Office of the Special Representative for their effort in aiding states impacted by the conflict in Ukraine. The work of the office has to a certain extent prevented the humanitarian crisis from escalating into a trafficking catastrophe.
Being part of the OSCE Group of Friends on Children and Armed Conflict, we must point out that children are particularly vulnerable to human trafficking. The Group is planning to hold a cross-dimensional event on this topic during the first months of 2024.
Combating human trafficking also requires us to address the demand that drives sexual exploitation, and to develop comprehensive policies to tackle the misuse of technology. In this respect, we value the Office’s input into the EU anti-trafficking Directive and their recent study on the online risks related to trafficking.
The fight against human trafficking cannot be carried out with conventions and protocols alone - we must also find good, concrete actions which requires a joint approach by the states. The common fight must take place both at the political level and the level of mutual legal assistance.
The country visits by the Office are pivotal, including their visit to Norway last year. It is essential to evaluate and reinforce our national anti-trafficking frameworks. The insights and recommendations from the report on Norway's visit have been invaluable, and we urge all participating States to actively utilize the expertise of the Coordinator’s Office.
Thank you, and good luck!