Human TraffickingMigration

Sweden hosted the first meeting of Mediterranean Partners for Co-operation Group, focusing on information technology and human trafficking

The Mediterranean Partners for Co-operation Group, under the Swedish Chair, held their first virtual meeting. It focused on the challenges and opportunities of information technology and human trafficking.

Some 100 participants discussed the rapid development of information technology and its tremendous impact globally on trafficking in human beings (THB), including in the OSCE region and across the Mediterranean.

“Our programme for 2020 will focus on topics such as countering trafficking in human beings, women, peace and security, youth and countering violent extremism and radicalization that lead to terrorism (VERLT),” said Ambassador Ulrika Funered, Head of the Permanent Delegation of Sweden to the OSCE. “Sweden’s ambition is to continue the tradition to make the OSCE Mediterranean partnership interactive, dynamic and operational despite these challenging times.”

Ambassador Igli Hasani, Chair of the Permanent Council, wholly endorsed the Swedish programme. “The programme closely aligns and complements Albanian’s Chairmanship priorities, and is particularly relevant to the Partners.” Regarding the topic of the day, Hasani stressed that harnessing new technologies and improving cross-border information sharing is an objective for us all. “It helps us increase awareness, support prevention, exchange best practices, adopt appropriate legislation, deepen mutual co-operation and strengthen prosecution with a sensible focus on the protection of the victims”.

OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger highlighted that the OSCE has long been a champion in a fight against human trafficking. “The OSCE has been in the lead in standard-setting and has provided concrete solutions through practical co-operation projects that have gained wide international interest,” said Greminger. He also noted that resilience of regional dialogue and co-operation would be tested due to the ongoing pandemic. “Our partnership should not be about doing less, but doing better.”

Valiant Richey, OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, pointed out that “The future success of countries in eradicating human trafficking will very much depend on how they are prepared and equipped to harness technology to fight this crime. We stand ready to help with the process.”

Participants commended Sweden’s Mediterranean Partners for Co-operation Group 2020 programme. “Sweden will concentrate on those areas of dialogue and co-operation in which the OSCE has a comparative advantage and where it brings added value,” said Ambassador Funered. “In this format, we are committed to enhance our common security with all the tools that the OSCE has to offer.”

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