Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement on the World Day against Trafficking in Persons on 30 July:
Today on the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, I remind you that every day people fall victim to human traffickers. Human trafficking in all its manifestations, whether for the purpose of sexual or labour exploitation, is a grave violation of human rights.
Victims of human trafficking are being exploited and robbed of their freedom in Germany as well. As human trafficking typically happens across borders, we cannot fight this form of organised crime on our own. What is needed is consistent cooperation between countries of origin, transit and destination. We are therefore strongly committed to close cooperation in the spheres of prevention, criminal prosecution and victim protection at international level, too.
Protecting the human rights of victims of trafficking is especially important in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is almost always people in particularly vulnerable situations who fall victim to human traffickers. For the majority of these people, the situation has got even worse as a result of the pandemic: sources of income have dried up, infection rates are rising, and it has become harder to get access to the law and to healthcare.
In the Human Rights Council a few weeks ago, Germany, along with Argentina, Jordan and the Philippines, sponsored a resolution calling in particular for better support for and empowerment of victims of human trafficking and labour exploitation and focusing on the situation of women. It also extends the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons. The resolution met with broad support and provides a good basis on which governments and NGOs around the world can work to eradicate human trafficking.
Human trafficking in all its forms constitutes a grave violation of human rights and is by nature a phenomenon that transcends borders. Germany is tackling the challenge of human trafficking by seeking joint solutions with other member states in a host of international organisations and bodies, in particular with our EU partners and in the Council of Europe, the Council of the Baltic Sea States, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the United Nations.
On top of this, every year the Federal Foreign Office supports projects in many countries aimed at combatting human trafficking, and has been the largest contributor for many years to the Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery set up by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, OHCHR.