Statement by Turkey Open Debate on “Trafficking in persons in conflict situations: forced labour, slavery and other similar practices" at the United Nations Security Council

Sayın Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya 14.03.2017
Mr. President,

We thank the United Kingdom for organizing today’s debate and Mr. Secretary- General and the distinguished briefers for their interventions. We find this open debate timely and relevant, following the adoption of the first Security Council resolution (2331) on this topic, of which Turkey had co-sponsored in December 2016.

Human trafficking constitutes a violation of human rights and an offence to the dignity and the integrity of human beings. It is rightly described as modern day slavery. It is also a serious transnational organized crime, which bears immense costs on the social and economic fabric of our societies.

Due to its geographical location Turkey has been adversely affected by the rising trends in human trafficking and related malpractices.

In the crises in our region, criminal and terrorist networks resort to different forms of exploitation of human beings, commit gender based sexual violence and forced recruitment of adults and children to fund and sustain their operations.

Speakers before me recalled how terrorist organizations like DAESH, Boko Haram and El Shabab resort to human trafficking for forced labor and slavery. Similarly, it is important to emphasize that terrorist organization PKK/PYD also widely employs methods aimed at exploiting human beings, in particular through forced recruitment of children and young women. Turkey actively fights against terrorist organizations such as DAESH and PKK/PYD. We also support our partners in their similar efforts. While doing so, we recognize that addressing the vulnerabilities of victims trapped in conflicts and ensuring the accountability is needed.

Mr. President,

Turkey remains strongly committed to eradicating human trafficking by implementing a progressive approach. With this understanding we introduced administrative and legal measures in combating this phenomenon through prevention, protection, prosecution, and cooperation.

At the international level, Turkey is a party to the Palermo Convention and its relevant supplementary protocols. At the regional level, Turkey put into force the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings since February 2016. We participate in the related activities of the OSCE and engage bilaterally with states in Eurasia.

At the domestic level, our efforts are focused on strengthening our legislation and improving the implementation of our obligations.

The “National Task Force on Fight against Human Trafficking” was formed in 2002 and so far two “National Action Plans” were developed and implemented. These Plans aim to achieve the implementation of international standards in the fight against human trafficking, it’s eradication in Turkey and strengthening of our institutions.

More recently, the “Regulation on Combatting Human Trafficking and Protection of Victim” was published in March 2016. The “Department for the Protection of Victims of Human Trafficking” was established and tasked to carry out the effective implementation of this regulation. The Department is responsible for conducting projects with a diverse set of stakeholders. In this vein, initiatives such as the multilingual “157 Helpline”, “Victim Support Program” and “Voluntary and Safe Return Program” were put in to practice.

Mr. President,

Human trafficking cannot be prevented by governments acting individually. We should re-calibrate and coordinate our ongoing efforts in line with the commitments that we have undersigned in the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants.

As the biggest refugee hosting country, in the world with over 3.2 million Syrians and Iraqis, Turkey will continue to undertake necessary measures to prevent human trafficking, forced labor and slavery of those who had already fled the horrors of conflicts.

Thank you.