Sophie Wilmès draws attention to victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation

Today we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for victims of human trafficking, especially women and children. The Trust Fund supports more than 3,500 victims of human trafficking every year through its NGO partners. With a contribution of 2 million euros, Belgium is the largest donor to the Trust Fund. Together with other partners, Belgium organized a panel discussion in the margins of the annual UNTOC conference (the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime), highlighting the achievements and the "lessons learned" over the past years, but also the importance of direct assistance to victims of human trafficking, with a special focus on women and girls who have been sexually exploited. Helping victims of human trafficking is a difficult task, especially during a global pandemic or humanitarian crises caused by armed conflicts. The event shared the experiences of NGOs implementing projects funded by the Trust Fund in Tunisia and Congo.

Today also marks the tenth anniversary of the Blue Heart Campaign (BHC), a global awareness raising initiative aimed at fighting human trafficking and its impact on society. Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sophie Wilmès, states that human trafficking is a criminal act that can exacerbate conflict, insecurity and instability. ”It is a violation of the human rights of women and girls. Because it cannot be fought by one country alone, international initiatives such as this and a multilateral approach are necessary. Only together will we succeed in eradicating this".