Strasbourg, 7 June 2023 (TDI): Yesterday, on 6 June, the highly anticipated annual meeting of National Anti-Trafficking Coordinators and Rapporteurs of OSCE commenced.

The annual anti-trafficking meeting, jointly organized by the Office of the OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings (OSR/CTHB) and the Council of Europe (CoE), took place at the headquarters of the Council of Europe.

With the participation of representatives from approximately 60 countries across the Council of Europe and the OSCE region, the meeting convened 130 delegates.

This crucial gathering focuses on strengthening the global fight against trafficking by enhancing the leadership structure at the national level.

With a shared commitment to combating this grave issue, the participants aim to reinforce their collective efforts and devise effective strategies to combat trafficking and protect the vulnerable.

The meeting continues today, fostering collaboration and driving positive change in the global fight against trafficking.

In her remarks, OSCE Secretary General Helga Maria Schmid underscored the urgent need and responsibility to address the heightened risk of exploitation prevailing today. She emphasized that effectively overcoming the challenges we face requires strong national leadership.

Agendas for Discussion

Better recognition of human trafficking victims, addressing related issues, encouraging the proactive use of financial investigations, and enhancing the responsibilities of NACs and NARs are among the topics discussed at the meeting.

Strengthening the Role of NACs and NARs

Discussions revolved around the pivotal objective of bolstering the mandate and responsibilities entrusted to National Anti-Trafficking Co-Ordinators (NACs) and Rapporteurs (NARs).

Recognized as vital actors in coordinating and implementing anti-trafficking mechanisms within their respective states, these entities garnered significant attention during the talks.

Petya Nestorova, the Executive Secretary of the Council of Europe Anti-Trafficking Convention, emphasized the significance of the annual meetings of national anti-trafficking coordinators and rapporteurs.

She highlighted the platform they provide for the exchange of information and ideas, strengthening their collective determination to combat human trafficking amidst evolving challenges and competing priorities. Their resolute commitment to guiding actionable measures against this pervasive crime remains unwavering.

Human Trafficking, A Form of Humanitarian Crisis

Human trafficking stands as one of the most reprehensible crimes of our time, operating surreptitiously while inflicting a profound impact on human society.

It has emerged as a prominent humanitarian crisis, particularly in regions plagued by conflicts, whether on a national or international scale.

The scourge of human trafficking not only engenders grave human suffering but also poses a significant threat to national security.

It undermines the fabric of society, erodes law and order, jeopardizes human security, disrupts social stability, and fosters the proliferation of other criminal activities.

Recognizing the gravity of this issue and the imperative to safeguard European and other nations from this peril, the Council of Europe and the OSCE convene this annual meeting, fostering a collaborative platform for member states to work collectively.

By joining forces, these international organizations aim to combat human trafficking and forge effective strategies to liberate societies from this pervasive menace.