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Iran urges ‘effective’ assistance to states in fighting trafficking in persons

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iranian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Majid Takht-Ravanchi

A senior Iranian diplomat has denounced trafficking in persons as “one of the most notorious crimes,” calling on the international community to provide “tailor-made, accessible and effective technical assistance to countries to combat this crime in a more efficient manner.”

Iran’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Majid Takht-Ravanchi made the remarks in an address to the High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly for the Appraisal of the United Nations Global Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons in New York on Tuesday.

He said the deliberations at the meeting would be “instrumental” in addressing challenges in the implementation of the Global Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and finding ways to tackle them.

Takht-Ravanchi said the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crimes (UNTOC) and its protocols had made efforts to create a coherent cross-border regulatory environment in an attempt to form a collective response to this menace.

As one of the earliest signatories to the UNTOC, Takht-Ravanchi said, Iran has taken the necessary steps in line with the provisions of the Convention and the protocols thereto to combat human trafficking.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran reiterates its commitment to fight TIP and considers the role of the United Nations bodies, specifically the UNODC (UN Office on Drugs and Crime), in determining and facilitating international cooperation in this regard essential,” the senior Iranian diplomat said.

He added that Iran’s Parliament approved the UNTOC in 2018 which is now under the Expediency Council’s consideration for its final approval.

There are currently several statutory regulations in place in Iran pertaining to TIP and other necessary legal tools for investigation and prosecution within the country's legal system, he said.

The senior official added that the Iranian administration had also approved a new draft bill amending the Countering Human Trafficking Act of 2004 and submitted it to the Parliament for adoption.

“This draft bill focuses on the definition of TIP, including all of its essential elements, as a notorious crime, while covering aggravating circumstances such as commission against minors and women,” he said.

He noted that such harmony would eventually contribute to international cooperation on the issue.

The Ministry of Interior has established the Commission on Countering Trafficking in Person, which features a set of executive and supervisory measures, to, inter alia, “develop policies, strategies and programs while monitoring any activities related to TIP.”

“On the front line, our law enforcement personnel continue to bravely fight organized criminal groups despite the unavailability of necessary means and resources resulting from unlawful US sanctions and in the absence of much needed international support to fight these groups efficiently,” Takht-Ravanchi said.

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