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OSCE-Conference on human trafficking held at the Federal Foreign Ministry

07.09.2016 - Article

Gernot Erler, Special Representative of the Federal Government for the OSCE Chairmanship, today opened a conference entitled Preventing Trafficking in Human Beings for Labour Exploitation in Supply Chains, which is being held under the auspices of the German OSCE Chairmanship. The event aims to enhance coordination between governments, economic stakeholders and civil society in the fight against global trafficking in human beings.

In his address, Gernot Erler underscored the OSCE’s role as “facilitator and pioneer for an internationally closely coordinated approach”.
In his address, Gernot Erler underscored the OSCE’s role as “facilitator and pioneer for an internationally closely coordinated approach”.© AA

The OSCE as a pioneer and facilitator

In his opening remarks, Erler stressed that the OSCE was working on the basis of a “comprehensive understanding of the term security”. He explained that the concept thus included not only the military dimension, but also a human rights and economic dimension, as well as democratic standards. In the fight against global human trafficking, where all of these dimensions are relevant, the OSCE was both a “facilitator and pioneer of an internationally closely coordinated approach”. Erler commended the tremendous commitment evinced in this context by the OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Ambassador Madina Jarbussynova.

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Bringing all key actors together

Yasmin Fahimi, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, spoke about the extent of human trafficking worldwide.
Yasmin Fahimi, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, spoke about the extent of human trafficking worldwide.© AA

Taking the podium after Erler, Yasmin Fahimi, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, underscored the endemic nature of human trafficking in all its facets. According to UN statistics, more than 21 million people worldwide are made to carry out forced labour. Fahimi stressed that it was thus all the more important for governments and businesses to work together closely with a view to protecting human rights standards in global supply chains. With this goal in mind, more than 150 representatives from OSCE participating States, international organisations, non-governmental organisations, trade unions, academia and the private sector have gathered in Berlin to attend this conference hosted by the German OSCE Chairmanship today and tomorrow.

Germany’s OSCE Chairmanship in 2016

On 1 January 2016, Germany assumed the Chairmanship of the world’s largest regional security organisation for the second time, following its Chairmanship in 1991. “Renewing dialogue, rebuilding trust, restoring security” is the motto of its Chairmanship in 2016. Speaking last week in connection with an informal meeting of OSCE foreign ministers in Potsdam, Steinmeier said it was not a coincidence that Germany had taken on the Chairmanship in such turbulent times. “This was a deliberate step which we took to help strengthen peace and security in the OSCE area.” The final highlight of Germany’s Chairmanship will be the Ministerial Council in Hamburg on 8–9 December 2016.

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Speech by the Special Representative of the Federal Government for the OSCE Chairmanship, Gernot Erler, at the conference on Preventing Trafficking in Human Beings for Labour Exploitation in Supply Chains

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