Statement by

His Excellency Dr Ali Naseer Mohamed,

Permanent Representative of the Maldives to the United Nations

at the United Nations Security Council Open Debate

on Trafficking in persons in conflict situations

21 November 2017

Thank you Madam President,

I wish to thank Italy, this month's presidency, for holding today's debate on trafficking in persons in conflict situations. I also wish to extend my appreciation to the Secretary General for the updates provided on this topic.

Madam President,

Trafficking in persons is the modern form of slavery that should be outlawed everywhere in the world. The Maldives Parliament has criminalised trafficking in persons in 2013, and the Government of Maldives continues to take strong measures against this shameful crime. Trafficking in persons in conflict situations is one of the most dreadful crimes. Conflict situations place individuals in the most vulnerable position, And yet, the reality is that conflict zones have become breeding grounds for criminal activities; millions of people are falling prey to human traffickers as they desperately try to escape the violence.

The Maldives takes note of the increasing role of this Council in confronting human trafficking in conflict situations. The Security Council Resolution 2331 of 2016 condemns all acts of human trafficking in areas affected by armed conflicts and the two open debates held this year on this subject highlights the urgency to address this issue.

Madam President,

The Maldives believes that the best strategy to bring an end to the heinous crime of human trafficking is cultivating a culture of respect for human dignity; the fundamental values of human rights and the responsibility to respect and uphold those rights, in particular the rights of women, children, and those that are in vulnerable situations. It is therefore absolutely necessary for the UN and other actors to work with the national Governments to strengthen the capacities of the relevant institutions in implementing the national and international laws and norms, in bringing the perpetrators of such criminal activities to justice. It is only then we would be able to cultivate a culture where no individual will tolerate the subjugation of a fellow human being.

The Maldives hosts a large number of migrant workers in its workforce. My Government recognises the importance of protecting the rights of the expatriate community, and the potential vulnerabilities of individual members of that community to the predatory designs of transnational human trafficking syndicates. The very first legislation that President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom signed into law was the Anti-Human Trafficking Act in December 2013. To further strengthen the implementation of this Act, the Government adopted a Five-Year National Action Plan to combat human trafficking nationwide. At the international level, the Maldives joined the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in February 2013. And in 2016, the Maldives acceded to the "Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children". But we recognise it requires more than the plans for the implementation of the international treaties; it requires the highest level of political will and a range of other measures. Above all, it requires stronger global cooperation and coordination; exchanging information and best practices. The Maldives will always remain an active partner in crafting shared solutions for a world free of human trafficking, a world free of every kind of slavery, and a world where every nation, every society, has a say in shaping our shared destiny.

I thank you, Madam President.