ST PETERSBURG, Russia 18 April 2012 – The role of parliamentarians in combating and preventing human trafficking at the national and international level was the focus of a roundtable discussion in St. Petersburg today. It was organized by the OSCE Office of the Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, the Inter-parliamentary Assembly of Member Nations of the CIS (IPA-CIS), CIS Executive Committee, and the Council of Europe.
The OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, stressed that parliaments should promote coherence between national legislation and international instruments, especially in the field of labour exploitation.
“Parliaments should establish better regulation and monitoring of recruitment agents, which are often the first segment of a trafficking chain as they take advantage of the social vulnerability of workers to establish debt bondage and exploitation,” she said.
Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, said: "The Council of Europe offers to the international community an effective tool to fight trafficking in human beings. Our Convention, with its victim centred approach, effectively applies Council of Europe human rights standards in combating this abominable scourge affecting millions of women, men and children."
Alexei Sergeev, Secretary General of the Council of the IPA-CIS, emphasized the IPA-CIS commitment to fighting trafficking as a threat to human security and democracy. He highlighted their contribution to the development of legislation in the CIS through the adoption of model laws on combating human trafficking and on providing assistance to victims.
The event brings together more than 100 participants, including parliamentarians from the CIS and the OSCE region, representatives of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, senior government officials, national anti-trafficking co-ordinators, law enforcement, prosecutors, academics and representatives from international and non-governmental organizations.
The meeting, the first such event held by the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the IPA-CIS and the Executive Committee of the CIS, is aimed at promoting multi-agency international co-operation to address modern-day slavery.