Statement by H.E. Mr. Jun Yamazaki
Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
at the High-level Meeting on the Appraisal of the Global Plan of Action
to Combat Trafficking in Persons
14 May 2013
Thank you, Mr. President,
My delegation would like to welcome the convening of this High-level Meeting, which provides a good opportunity for Member States, UN organizations and the civil society to appraise the implementation of the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons as well as the Palermo Protocol. Trafficking in persons is a crime against the dignity of human beings and a serious human rights violation, and Member States have the shared responsibility to eliminate this heinous crime.
The Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2012, which was prepared by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in accordance with the Global Plan of Action, is a valuable contribution to enhance our understanding on this issue. This report shows that around 75% of the victims detected globally are women or girls, with another 10% representing boys. These figures illustrate that people who are vulnerable, including women and children, are the main targets of trafficking.
It is important to reach victims in vulnerable circumstances, strengthen their capacity, and assist their smooth reintegration into society. However, the modes of operation of perpetrators are becoming more and more sophisticated and invisible, making it difficult to detect and rescue victims. For instance, in Japan, it is reported that brokers are trying to have the victims obtain visa through such means as fake marriages.
Combat against trafficking in persons is one of the most important policy areas for the Government of Japan. Therefore, based on the Palermo Protocol, the Government established in 2009 Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons in order to further the united efforts of relevant authorities to tackle this increasingly sophisticated crime. This Action Plan was the result of two consultations with the NGOs and continuous discussions in a working group consisting of governmental authorities and NGOs. It is a comprehensive action plan which covers the 4 P’s, namely prevention, prosecution, protection and partnership strengthening. Its implementation is regularly followed up.
Further, the inter-ministerial task force on combating trafficking in persons recently adopted two guidelines to effectively implement the Action Plan. The guideline on the detection of victims familiarizes officers with the treatment of trafficking cases and encourages information sharing and cooperation among relevant authorities, including the police, immigration control, Women’s Consulting Offices, Child Guidance Centers and Labor Standards Inspection Offices. The other guideline on the protection of victims draws relevant officers’ attention to the importance of ensuring the security of the victims, paying due consideration to the status as victims even when their activities while trafficked constitute a crime, and taking measures for stabilizing their legal status, including extension of visa and grant of special permission to stay in Japan. The guideline on the protection of victims also points out the necessity of support for the victims at Women’s Consulting Offices, such as food, clothing, shelter, interpretation services, counseling and medical care.
In addition to such efforts within our own country, we recognize the importance of strong partnerships between the states of destination and the states of origin. In order to share information effectively with the states of origin, Japan has dispatched to several countries its delegation on anti-human trafficking measures. It has also held joint task force meetings with a country. There are many issues to be addressed in the states of origin or transit, such as capacity-building of law enforcement officers, as well as the protection, support and reintegration of victims. Japan, therefore, has contributed to various technical assistance projects, in many cases in Southeast Asia, either bilaterally or through the UNODC, the International Organization for Migration or furthermore through the UN Trust Fund for Human Security.
In order to prevent and combat trafficking in persons, it is essential to raise awareness among not only governments but also citizens. Japan is committed to tackling this issue in close cooperation with other Member States, relevant UN organizations and the civil society.
Thank you, Mr. President.