(check against delivery)Thank you, Mr. President.
On behalf of the Government of Japan, I would like to welcome the convening of this High-level Meeting, which provides a great opportunity for Member States, UN organizations and civil society to appraise the implementation of the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons.
Trafficking in persons is a serious crime, as well as being a grave violation of human dignity and integrity.
The nexus between trafficking in persons and terrorism is a matter of deep concern lately, and terrorist groups are using trafficking in persons as their tactic of fundraising and recruitment, as the Security Council resolution adopted last year highlighted. This new development is contributing to prolong and exacerbate conflict and instability.
Member States have the shared responsibility to eliminate this crime. Japan welcomes that Member States, in the plenary of this High-level Meeting, demonstrate our strong political will to take decisive and concerted action to end this heinous crime, wherever it may occur.
The fight against trafficking in persons is one of the most important policy areas for the Government of Japan. The Government takes comprehensive and holistic measures with effective coordination among relevant agencies based on the “2014 Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons.” And as required by this Action Plan, the Government follows up on its implementation by issuing an annual report with a view to broadly provide information for the measures taken by the Government and to raise awareness among citizens.
In addition to our efforts at the national level, building strong partnerships with various international, regional stakeholders is also of our utmost interest.
In this regard, Japan has been holding a Japan-UNODC Strategic Policy Dialogue annually since 2013. Enhancing law enforcement capacity around the world to combat trafficking in persons is one of the priorities of this cooperation, and we are delighted to see experts from Japan playing a central role to implement various anti-trafficking projects developed by UNODC, particularly in Southeast Asian countries.
Japan has also been providing technical assistance for prevention, victim protection and rehabilitation measures through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). We also welcome that Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) has been utilized to implement projects to confront this crime.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to note that Japan became a party to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its supplementary Protocol on Trafficking in Persons on 11 July 2017. Japan has already participated in the Working Group on Trafficking in Persons as a State Party to the Protocol in September.
As these international instruments play a central role in the fight against trafficking in persons, Japan is committed to engage fully in the process of establishing a mechanism for the review of the implementation of these instruments, and to further strengthen cooperation with other countries.
I would like to conclude my statement by expressing our commitment to continue to take practical steps to address this issue in line with the Global Plan of Action and relevant Sustainable Development Goals, in close cooperation with other Member States, relevant UN organizations and the civil society.
Thank you, Mr. President.