On the World Day against Trafficking in Persons (30 July), France underlines its strong commitment to combating this serious form of crime and human rights violation. Such trafficking, which is thought to generate up to $150 billion in global annual revenue, also represents a global security issue, fuelling corruption, irregular migration and terrorism.
As such, France has made combating this scourge a fully-fledged public policy. After adopting its first national action plan in 2014, France is now committed to implementing its second national action plan against trafficking in human beings for the period 2019-2022. With its 45 measures, this plan aims to strengthen action at European and international levels to combat this serious form of crime.
The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs contributes to this effort by promoting the use of legal instruments aimed at strengthening international cooperation, including the Palermo Convention and its Additional Protocol on human trafficking. At the United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice held in March 2021, the Ministry worked to make the fight against human trafficking one of the priorities of the final declaration adopted on that occasion. The Ministry also works hard to develop close cooperation with the regions most affected by the phenomenon, particularly in Africa within the assistance project for the fight against trafficking in persons in the Gulf of Guinea countries implemented by Expertise France and co-financed with the EU, but also in South-East Europe in liaison with the EU, the UNODC and the OSCE. Through its contribution to action conducted in these two regions of origin of many trafficking victims, France supports both capacity building for States to help them combat trafficking networks (legislative frameworks, role of national coordinators, regional cooperation) as well as essential action relating to prevention, identification and protection of victims, communication and outreach. France also supports victim defence associations, NGOs and civil society.
Keen to raise public awareness on the fate of human trafficking victims worldwide, France also actively participates in the Blue Heart Campaign led by the UNODC, encouraging both States and individuals to get involved and support the fight against human trafficking. Furthermore, France is the fifth-largest contributor to the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. The Trust Fund supports assistance to and protection of victims on the ground, notably through grants to specialized associations.
France, which is also fully mobilized against forced labour, wanted to enhance its work by applying to be a “Pathfinder Country” within the 8.7 Alliance, a global partnership set up as part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals against child labour, forced labour, human trafficking and contemporary forms of slavery.
Finally, the French and Swedish Foreign Ministers have committed to strengthening cooperation between our two countries in order to fight human trafficking for sexual exploitation. This bilateral commitment includes active promotion worldwide of our respective legislation and the abolitionist model for addressing prostitution.
France will particularly focus on the fight against human trafficking during its Presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2022, following on from the recent Strategy set out by the European Commission for the 2021-2025 period. Fighting all forms of this scourge of human trafficking will remain one of the main priorities of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, in close collaboration with the interdepartmental unit for protecting women against violence and for combating trafficking in human beings (MIPROF) and the various relevant ministries. In particular, alongside the most committed partner countries, the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs will continue to raise awareness and exchange best practices within international forums, and to hold enhanced dialogue on these issues with designated special representatives or senior officials in all relevant forums, particularly the United Nations, ILO, OSCE and the Council of Europe.