To encourage better international coordination in fighting human trafficking, in September 2005 Belarus put forward an idea of forging a Global Partnership against Slavery and Trafficking in Human Beings in the 21st century. The partnership would seek to unite efforts and best practices of all major stakeholders in anti-trafficking activities and foster a concerted UN response to this hideous crime.
As a first step towards the Global Partnership, Belarus initiated a resolution ‘Improving the coordination of efforts against trafficking in persons’. Adopted by consensus in 2006, the first ever GA resolution on international coordination in combating human trafficking invited Member States to consider the elaboration of a UN action plan. The 2008 ECOSOC resolution ‘Strengthening coordination of the United Nations and other efforts in fighting trafficking in persons’, the next Belarusian initiative in a series of steps to facilitate the elaboration of a UN action plan, reaffirmed that appeal.
A clear call for an action plan was made at the 2007 International Conference 'Trafficking in Women and Girls: Meeting the Challenge Together'. The first global and all-engaging forum on human trafficking ever held in the UN Headquarters, the conference was organised by Belarus, the Philippines, UNODC and Vital Voices Global Partnership and gathered over 400 people from more than 90 Member States, around 20 international organisations and over 100 NGOs.
The Government of Belarus and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) opened the ITC in July 2007 in Minsk.
The ITC is committed to training law-enforcement specialists in the field of migration management and combating trafficking in persons. It enables practitioners from Belarus as well as other CIS countries, Central, Western and South-eastern Europe, the Gulf States to gain valuable knowledge in the area of migration management and combating trafficking in persons.
The Center’s main financial support comes from the IOM and Belarusian Government. It works in close cooperation with a number of governmental bodies, educational institutions, international and public associations.
The need for a UN action plan was clearly expressed by many delegations at the General Assembly informal debate on fighting human trafficking on 3 June 2008 following the request from the Member States initiated by Belarus.
As a follow-up to the 2006 UN General Assembly resolution ‘Improving the coordination of efforts against trafficking in persons' Belarus initiated in the Third Committee the resolution, later adopted at the UNGA 63rd session by consensus. Pursuant to this resolution 63/194 the Member-States are invited to accelerate the consideration of the advisability of a global plan of action on preventing trafficking in persons, prosecuting traffickers, protecting and assisting victims of trafficking.
On 18 May, Deputy Foreign Minister of Belarus Sergei Aleinik held a meeting with Ms.Ezeilo in the Foreign Ministry that saw participation of representatives from the Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNDP Office in Minsk.
The meeting focused on the Belarusian initiatives in international organizations on bolstering global anti-trafficking efforts.
As a follow up to the GA Thematic Debate, the President of the 63 rd session of the General Assembly appointed Permanent Representatives to the UN of Cape-Verde and Portugal as the co-facilitators to start the process of informal consultations of Member States to draw up a United Nations global plan of action against human trafficking.
Belarus supported by Bahrain, Ecuador, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Qatar, the Russian Federation and UAE initiated the resolution 64/178 “Improving the coordination of efforts against trafficking in persons”. The resolution was adopted by consensus. More than 70 countries, including the entire African Group, China, India, Venezuela, Bolivia, Bangladesh, Thailand, became co-sponsors of this resolution. In accordance with the resolution, the Member States took note with appreciation the decision of the President of the General Assembly to start the process of consultations on a United Nations global plan of action and stressed the need for the consultations to be held in an open, inclusive and transparent manner.
Initiated by Belarus, the Group of Friends United against Human Trafficking was established in the United Nations. It currently consists of 20 countries (Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Nicaragua, Nigeria, the Philippines, Qatar, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, UAE, Uzbekistan and Venezuela ).
This Group of Friends is an informal, voluntary and open-ended association of Member States created to help to reinvigorate and consolidate the global fight against trafficking in persons.
The Group of Friends seeks to enhance the role of the United Nations in fighting human trafficking and to promote better coordination and cohesiveness of anti-trafficking efforts, including through elaboration and implementation of a global plan of action against trafficking in persons.
On the eve of consultations in the General Assembly on a global plan of action against trafficking in persons the Group of Friends drew up a non-paper which contains some arguments in favour of elaboration of a global plan of action and possible substantive elements of the future document. This non-paper was issued as an official document of the General Assembly A/64/691.
On 30 July 2010 joint efforts of Members of the Group toghether with partners all over the world resulted in adoption of the Global Plan of Action to Combat
Trafficking in Persons by General Assembly Resolution A/64/293.
The First Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Friends United against Human Trafficking took place in New York on 22 September 2010. H.E. Sergei Martynov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, made an introductory address to the distinguished gathering. The Group of Friends adopted Declaration on the Global Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons (English, Russian, Arabic, French, Spanish).
In accordance with the decision of the President of the Republic of Belarus, Belarus made a voluntary contribution of 20 000 USA dollars to the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, which has been recently created pursuant to the resolution 64/293 “United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons”. This contribution will help to render significant assistance to victims of contemporary forms of slavery.
The Republic of Belarus as a coordinator of the Group of Friends United against Human Trafficking initiated a meeting of the Group with the United Nations agencies and international organisations most active in the fight against trafficking in persons, in particular IOM, UNESCO, UNICEF and INTERPOL.
The meeting entitled “Enhancing Coordination of Efforts in Global Fight against Trafficking in Persons” was held on 24 June 2011 in the UN Headquarters, New York.
The Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Y.Fedotov took an active part in the above-mentioned meeting. Other panelists included the representatives of IOM, INTERPOL, UNICEF and UNESCO.
The event was dedicated to the first anniversary since the adoption by the 64th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, the first UN document, which harnessed the key stakeholders in fighting against this scourge.
The panel discussed the endeavours of the international community to put an end to this crime and explore mechanisms for enhancing coordination of efforts in global fight against human trafficking, including by implementation of the Global Plan of Action.
The Group of Friends enlarged its membership and now comprises 21 Member States after the Republic of Singapore joined the Group of Friends in June 2011.
The Republic of Belarus as a coordinator of the Group of Friends United against Human Trafficking chaired the Second Ministerial Meeting of the Group held on
26 September 2011 on the margins of the 66th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sent a message to the Members of the Group of Friends.
His Excellency Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, President of the 66th session of the United Nations participated in the Meeting. In his address to the group he expressed readiness to support the initiatives of the Group of Friends in further rallying endeavours to combat trafficking in persons.
Mr John Sandage, Director of the Division for Treaty Affairs of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) delivered a statement on behalf of the Executive Director of UNODC.
High-raking officials of the UN agencies and international organizations, most active in combating trafficking in persons (Ms Irena Vojačkovб-Sollorano, Director of Migration Management of the |International Organization for Migration and
Mr Richard Bennett, Special Advisor to the Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations for Human Rights, New York Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights) took an active part in the Ministerial Meeting.
The participants discussed the ways of enhancing international efforts in fighting trafficking in persons, including through implementing the Global Plan of Actions to Combat Trafficking in Persons.
The participants also shared national, regional and international experiences and lessons learnt in countering trafficking in persons and informed about new innovative initiatives in anti-trafficking issues since the First Ministerial Meeting in September 2010.
Building on the results of the Ministerial Meeting, the Ministers adopted a Declaration on Global Efforts to Combat Trafficking in persons, aiming at furthering endeavours of the international community to put an end to this crime and explore mechanisms for improving coordination of efforts in global fight against human trafficking, including by implementation of the Global Plan of Action. The Declaration was issued as an official document of the 66th session UNGA.
After Singapore’s joining the Group of Friends in May 2011, the Group is comprised of 21 countries (Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Libya, Nicaragua, Nigeria, the Philippines, Qatar, the Russian Federation, Singapore, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Venezuela).
Third Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Friends United Against Human Trafficking took part on September 28, 2012, in New York on margins of the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly, hosted by Belarusian Foreign Minister H.E. Vladimir Makei.
A wide range of stakeholders, including UNODC, UN Women, IOM, UNICEF, UNHCR, took part in the meeting.
The participants welcomed the accession of Lao People’s Democratic Republic to the group.
The participants adopted Declaration on the Global Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons (English), which outlined the ways for further cooperation in countering human trafficking.