Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Russia’s war has left many Ukrainians vulnerable to human trafficking – UK statement to the OSCE [July 2023]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 6 July 2023.

Justin Addison (UK Delegation to the OSCE) tells an OSCE joint committee meeting that the UK is committed to working with international partners to reduce the risks of trafficking.

Thank you, Madam moderator. And thank you to the speakers for sharing your thoughts with us today. It’s really valuable to hear the perspectives from civil society. And it’s clear from what has been said that this issue crosses all three of the OSCE’s dimensions.

As we have heard from the deputy minister, Russia’s unprovoked assault on Ukraine has left many Ukrainians vulnerable to human trafficking. Unfortunately, this includes highly gendered and toxic demand for sexual services, as criminals prey on the vulnerability of the displaced. The UK is committed to working with international partners to reduce the risks of trafficking for the most vulnerable, particularly women and children.

In this challenging context, we thank the Office of the Special Representative for their leadership on anti-trafficking prevention and support to cyber and trafficking police, technology companies, and NGOs working to combat online exploitation. We also thank ODIHR for its important work.

The Conference of the Alliance against Trafficking in Persons in April was an important milestone for the OSCE region, demonstrating the importance of national leadership and a global response to tackling human trafficking. Although progress has been made in recent years, there is still a long way to go. That is why the UK is committed to supporting Theresa May in her work to establish a new Global Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking. Such a commission will inject political momentum at this critical time, and will support the global community to achieve our shared goal of eradicating modern slavery and human trafficking by 2030. We encourage participating States who have not already done so to evaluate how they can support this important new initiative.