NEW YORK, 10th February, 2016 (WAM) — Reacting to a Europol warning that up to 10,000 unaccompanied migrant children travelling to Europe were missing, UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, has said that this situation is “clearly unacceptable, and international action is urgently needed.”

Mr. Fedotov was speaking at an event in New York on human trafficking and the eradication of modern-day slavery through Sustainable Development, organised by the Belarus government, the Group of Friends United against Human Trafficking and UNODC. Other speakers included the President of the UN General Assembly, Mogens Lykketoft, and UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.

The UNODC chief said solutions lay in fostering greater action and cooperation among every country affected by human trafficking. He underscored the importance of the UN Convention against Trans-national Organised Crime and its protocol against human trafficking and stressed that it provided the necessary tools for action.

But the problem, said Mr. Fedotov, is that many countries are not using these laws. He quoted UNODC research that four in 10 countries reported having less than 10 yearly convictions, with nearly 15 percent having no convictions at all.

He also indicated that the share of children being trafficked was rising with the number of detected child victims now representing nearly one-third of all detected trafficking victims in the world.

Discussing a strategy to counter the traffickers, Mr. Fedotov said the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons offered a suitable plan, but funding was also needed.

He said the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons needed the strong support of countries. The Trust Fund has already supported 30 NGO projects, in 26 countries around the world, with grants worth US$ 1.75 million.

WAM/AAMIR/Moran