Explanation of Position by Brian Kidwell, United States Advisor, on L.11, Rev.1: Further steps to improve the Coordination of Efforts against Trafficking in Persons, in the Third Committee of the Sixty-fourth Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Brian Kidwell
United States Advisor 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
November 19, 2009


Thank you, Mr. Chair. The United States appreciates the efforts of parties to reach consensus on the text.  The United States has agreed to join consensus on resolution A/C.3/64/L.11, Rev. 1, with the following Explanation of Position. 

We all share a common desire to renew our collective efforts to confront human trafficking.  We must recognize the fact that slavery continues to exist in the 21st Century.  At every level – national, regional and international – much work remains to be done to prevent and combat trafficking in persons.

The United States remains firmly convinced that international attention needs to be focused on implementing the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.  While more countries have adopted comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation, there has been a 35 percent reduction in the global number of prosecutions of traffickers over the last six years, and convictions of traffickers remain unacceptably low.  Effective enforcement of laws is the only viable deterrent.

For those countries who argue that not all member states are parties to the TIP protocol, we would point out that the Protocol and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime is open to accession by all states.  Additionally, the rules of procedure to the Conference allow for the participation of non-parties as observers.

In practice, there is no difference between the participation of states parties and that of state observers, as decisions have been taken by consensus with the input of observers.  The Conference of Parties is only exclusionary by choice, that is, governments who lack a commitment to combat TIP choose not to engage.

The United States remains extremely skeptical that a Global Plan of Action will have any substantive impact leading to improved anti-trafficking responses.  Instead, we will have another exercise that will distract governments from what they need to do to address human trafficking aggressively within their own countries.  While international coordination of efforts is very important, governments need to first do more at home to prevent trafficking, punish the traffickers, and protect and assist the victims.  International coordination could prove helpful if the purpose was to bring donors and possible implementers together to work with committed governments that have limited resources.


PRN: 2009/280