VIENNA, 11 October 2012 – The OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, at an OSCE-hosted conference, outlined today how discrimination serves as an underlying cause of human trafficking and called for new strategies to fight these injustices.
“Discrimination on any grounds makes people vulnerable to trafficking and offers easy justification for exploitation,” Giammarinaro said. “We witness every day the production of xenophobic stereotypes about migrant workers, hampering the perception that they could be victims of a serious crime. Social inclusion is the ultimate goal of our struggle, both in countries of origin and destination.”
She said she hoped the Conference would contribute to a vision of anti-trafficking action as part of the human rights discourse with new advocacy strategies that would include lessons from the historical abolitionist movement.
OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier underlined the link between human rights and trafficking in the OSCE context.
“We cannot afford to underestimate the gravity of discrimination and exploitation as cross-cutting components of trafficking, seriously undermining the core values of the OSCE,” he said. “Together we will find better ways to address modern-day slavery through empowerment, non-discrimination and human rights protection, through vigorous implementation of the OSCE commitments.”
The OSCE-initiated 12th Alliance against Trafficking in Persons Conference brings together more than 300 senior government officials, national anti-trafficking co-ordinators and rapporteurs, representatives from international and non-governmental organizations, law enforcement agencies and trade unions, as well as employers’ organizations and migrants’ rights groups. Special guests include Kenneth Morris, president of the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation and UN.GIFT Special Advisor and child trafficking survivor Rani Hong. The director of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, Janez Lenarčič, the High Commissioner on National Minorities, Knut Vollebaek, as well as European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights Director Morten Kjaerum are also among the high-level speakers at the conference.