India has described the nexus between organised traffickers and terrorist networks through illicit financial linkages as a “dangerous phenomenon” that should be urgently addressed using counter-terrorism financing tools and sanctions regimes. “The nexus between organised traffickers and terrorist networks through illicit financial linkages is a dangerous phenomenon,” India’s Deputy Permanent Representative Tanmaya Lal said at a UN Security Council debate on ‘Trafficking in Persons in Conflict Situations’, yesterday.
Lal said the low rates of conviction for crimes of trafficking across countries needs to change.
“The persistence of this transnational organised crime and its links with terrorist networks despite the various collective efforts of the international community is a challenge that requires a stepping up of our efforts, more effectively using the existing counter-terror financing tools and mechanisms and sanctions regimes in this regard,” he said.
Lal also voiced concern that situations of armed conflict provide fertile ground for trafficking in persons especially from the vulnerable groups, including women, children and refugees for sexual slavery and forced labour or as fighters.
He said that in recent times, heinous actions of terrorist groups such as ISIS or Boko Haram specifically targeting women and children in situations of armed conflict as a deliberate tactic of war add an even more serious dimension to such crimes as such groups continue to act with impunity.
“The primary focus of the Security Council is to address threats to international peace and security. While increased focus on addressing trafficking in persons and its linkages to terrorism and armed conflicts is timely, we must strengthen international collaboration to better implement the various existing mechanisms, including through more effective coordination of the various entities at the UN,” he said.
While the Security Council should retain its focus on situations of armed conflict, Lal said broader mechanisms should be more fully utilised to strengthen national capacity building including in criminal justice capacities, regulatory frameworks of banking and financial institutions to disrupt illicit financial flows and improve regional and inter-regional cooperation.
Outlining the measures taken by India to address issue of trafficking, he said India unveiled a comprehensive draft legislation this year aimed at prevention of trafficking and protection and rehabilitation of trafficked persons.
India also continues to work closely with UN agencies including UN Women and the Office on Drugs and Crime.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, highlighting the plight of victims of human trafficking, underlined at the debate the need to ensure justice for victims and accountability for perpetrators, as well as to address underlying factors by focusing on human rights and stability.
“If conflict gives oxygen to traffickers, human rights and stability suffocate them,” Ban told the Security Council at its ministerial-level meeting on trafficking. Ban said there is need for strategic leadership in ending war – and also in preventing conflicts and sustaining peace, noting the UN’s commitment to supporting its member states in early action and in preventive diplomacy.