The trafficking in persons is a global phenomenon, that knows no boundaries, no Governments, no rules, except of its own, and most unfortunately is a grave violation of the human rights and dignity of the affected countries and people. This phenomenon is affecting us all.
Due to its global nature, concerted efforts are (indeed, as mentioned by many speakers today) necessary. Every nation can contribute to eradication of this phenomenon, every experience matters, and that is why we are here - to learn from each other - however we are also here to find joint ways to deal with trafficking.
Our national experience showed that through political will and partnerships we can register progress, and more can be done in the future. Thus, during the recent years the authorities of the Republic of Moldova rebuilt its anti-trafficking system on the basis of the “4P” paradigm (prevention, prosecution, protection and partnership).
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration became the Chair of the National Anti-Trafficking Committee. As he is currently the acting Prime-minister, the matter of anti-trafficking now comes directly under supervision of the Prime-minister's office.
The Republic of Moldova recognizes that in order to achieve good results we need to have a systemic approach, from legal ground to actions in justice. Hence, first of all, a firm legal framework is a vital condition to tackle this scourge. With the support of international partners (IOM and its Mission in Moldova), our existent legislative and police frameworks on preventing and fighting against trafficking have been adjusted to the European and international standards, for the following clusters: human trafficking and forced labour, officials participations, privacy, residence permit issued to victims of trafficking, identification and the status of victims and potential victims of trafficking, increase penalties for the offence of trafficking and prostitution, trafficking in organs.
In the light of the emerging new trends of THB mentioned in the 2012 UNODC Report, indicating an increased focus on children, the Moldovan Government ratified the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (Lanzarote Convention) and amended the criminal law to criminalize offenses acts under the above-mentioned Convention.
Moving from the legal framework to the activities performed by the Government, our authorities are implementing the National Plan of Action for preventing and combating the Trafficking in Human Beings for 2012-2013. The Plan encompasses 102 concrete actions to be taken by the Republic of Moldova, as a result of the Council of Europe recommendations (GRETA) report, the observations of the US State Department Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, the Universal Periodic Review, the priorities of the EU Strategy for Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings for 2012-2016 and other commitments the Republic of Moldova undertook. In 2012 the Moldovan authorities organized over 100 trainings and workshops for over 1800 experts involved in anti-trafficking. Moreover, as a result of the restructuring mentioned above every law enforcement body in the Republic of Moldova, created a separate anti-trafficking unit in its ranks. We believe such task forces in every law enforcement body could also be an interesting example for UN Member States.
We shall add that in the legal and law enforcement fields we partnered with European Union and United Nations to add to the entire effort. Thus, the reforms in the Ministry of Interior, and in the Justice system, for example, are conducted with the experts provided jointly by the European Union and United Nations, and one of the focuses is evidently anti-trafficking.
In terms of practical penalty measures, Moldovan Licensing Chamber issued, on the basis of existing information related to THB or illegal migration, 9 decisions to withdraw and 13 decisions to suspending licenses of the companies dealing with employment of citizens abroad; a decision to invalidate a license and a prescription for the activity related to the employment of citizens abroad; New conditions to initiate, conduct and desist employment / enrollment of students in educational and cultural exchange programs abroad were also established, according to the Law no. 127 of 08.06.2012; During 2012, for example, 24 Inquiry Committees of law enforcement bodies were created - of these 11 focused on clarification of the THB, one on child trafficking, and 10 on illegal migration - all with started criminal cases. The Republic of Moldova had a follow up from these commissions from 8 states, covering 15 of the started criminal cases. We also received 31 letters addressed to Moldovan courts, initiated by our partner states on the issues pertaining to THB, illegal migration or pimping - of these 26 responses were finalized, and 5 are in progress. We will also mention that in the case of the Eastern areas of the Republic of Moldova, under the control of the separatist authorities, the follow up to the anti-trafficking activities is extremely difficult.
To help affected people recover and rebuild their lives, we strengthened their protection through a National Referral System of victims and potential victims of human trafficking, which has been set in place in 2006, as a tool operating throughout the country through the joint teams of government and civil society structures, to guarantee an efficient identification, repatriation, protection and rehabilitation of victims and potential victims of trafficking. Identifying vulnerable people, potential victims of trafficking, as well as promoting a wide campaign on raising public awareness and to disseminate realistic information about the risks of migration was one of the successful initiatives in preventing trafficking, which could be successfully implemented in different countries of origin of victims.
In terms of data collection, which is extremely important for a detailed analysis and monitoring of the implemented national policies, a Concept to create a THB Data Harmonization Mechanism was launched. On the basis of this Concept, the relevant central authorities can fill up standard survey forms, essential for data collection, at all stages of the criminal proceedings. After the start of its implementation this cross-reference tool proved to a useful exercise, which provided important data on overall situation on trafficking at the country level.
As a consequence of this systemic approach towards trafficking in persons, the Republic of Moldova moved from tier three to tier two in the list of countries affected by trafficking, according to the 2012 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons (GRTP), drafted by the U.S. Department of State.
As I have mentioned at the beginning of my intervention, only national efforts are not enough to fight this problem alone and more needs to be done in close cooperation with our partners, as this is a global phenomena, affecting all of us. Addressing its core roots is impossible without information sharing, bilateral country agreements, as well as implementation of proactive and inclusive projects focusing on both the destination, transit and particularly on origin countries, last one mostly being developing ones. Such cooperation is necessary to enhance national anti-trafficking capacities, the reduction of the international criminality in migration and trafficking, to create fair conditions for the secure and legal mobility of people, while also respecting their right of non-discriminatory movement.
To conclude, let me once again emphasize the full and continuous commitment of the Republic of Moldova to support and encourage further efforts to address this phenomenon at international level and express our expectation that with UN support the work of this high-level meeting will lead to practical measures, in all interested countries, including the Republic of Moldova.
I thank you, Mr. President!