Spain is stepping up its commitment and efforts in combating human trafficking. This is a great example of how a country can mobilize when the issue of trafficking is elevated to a political priority, said the OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Valiant Richey, at the high-level first international seminar on trafficking in human beings in Madrid.
“Spain is building solid bases for strengthening anti-trafficking work in the years to come,” said Richey during his visit, where he learned about the country’s ongoing comprehensive review of the National Action Plan.
Richey commended the country for the broad focus on all forms of trafficking, and for the attention to technology-facilitated trafficking. “I encourage the Government to adopt measures to curb demand in line with international legal obligations and expand assistance to victims and I offer my Office’s support both in policy-development and capacity-building.”
Richey also talked to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Arancha González, Deputy Minister Cristina Gallach Figueras, and the newly appointed Ambassador at large on trafficking Carlos Ruiz Gonzales.
“Spanish efforts in the international arena, both in promoting broad and comprehensive multilateral solutions and in advancing anti-trafficking topics in bilateral political dialogues are commitments to be praised,” said Richey.
Minister González, while closing the seminar, said: “Combating human trafficking means protecting human rights, promoting gender equality, and speaking up to shed light on what is too often invisible.”
In a meeting with the Government Delegate against gender-based violence, Victoria Rosell Aguilar, Richey was briefed on how the country plans to disrupt sexual exploitation of women and girls. Supporting such reforms, Richey encouraged additional decisive steps to curb the demand incentivizing trafficking.
Richey also met with first-line responders, including NGOs, prosecutors, and investigators. “I am inspired by the work that is being done on the ground. NGOs are out there every day to help identify, support, and protect victims of trafficking,” said Richey. “On the law-enforcement side, police and prosecutors established solid frameworks of co-operation. What is needed now is new comprehensive laws and policies to empower these actors to operate at their best.”