Lopatka and Kurz: Modern slavery has got to stop
State Secretaries Reinhold Lopatka and Sebastian Kurz open the "Joining Forces against Human Trafficking” conference at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna
Vienna, 5 October 2012 – “Human trafficking is a severe violation of human rights and human dignity“, State Secretary Reinhold Lopatka said at the conference organised by the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs to mark the European Day Against Human Trafficking. Several million people have fallen victim to human trafficking worldwide; women and girls are most often affected by this modern form of slavery, which is also an issue in Austria.
“Today’s event is an important jigsaw piece for sensitisation; it provides information and triggers discussions about human trafficking”, Austrian State Secretary for Integration, Sebastian Kurz, said. “Today’s event also sends out the unmistakable message that we have mobilised our forces to combat human trafficking and will not cease to combat this crime." The best possible help and support of victims of human trafficking is of the essence, he added. "Thanks to the support of the social institutions in charge and of NGOs, victims of human trafficking receive care and are pro-actively supported in finding their way in the Austrian society as quickly as possible”, Kurz said. “I would like to thank all those involved for providing this support.”
Men, women and children are often brought to Austria with the use of violence and exploited here, whether through forced prostitution, child trafficking, systematic begging or by exploitation in the construction industry or agriculture.
“The Austrian Government is firmly committed to take all the necessary steps to fight human trafficking“, State Secretary Lopatka said in his opening address. In March 2012, the Austrian Government adopted the third National Action Plan Against Human Trafficking that provides for far-reaching measures. “Prevention, the protection of victims, criminal prosecution of the offenders need to be efficiently combined in the fight against this form of crime", Lopatka said. The task force for combating human trafficking, that has been managed by the Foreign Ministry since 2004, is the important networking tool for coordination between ministries, federal provinces and non-governmental organisations.
At international level, Austria makes uses of its membership in the UN Human Rights Council to join forces with other states and NGOs in launching initiatives against human trafficking. The Austrian Government is particularly dedicated to protecting children from exploitation and slavery.
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