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April 26, 2021 3:25 pm

Israel Joins Council of Europe Convention to Combat ‘Horrific Phenomenon’ of Human Trafficking

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Israel Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi signs the Council of Europe’s convention against human trafficking. Photo: Twitter

Israel has become the first non-European nation to sign up to the Council of Europe’s Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings, in a move designed to “reinforce our role as a critical actor in this global fight,” an adviser to Israel’s foreign ministry said.

The Council of Europe is an international human rights organization composed of 47 member states, including the 27 countries that form the EU, that is headquartered in the French city of Strasbourg. Its anti-trafficking convention was launched in 2005, after the Council recognized that “trafficking in human beings has become one of the Europe’s major scourges. This phenomenon affecting men, women and children has reached such an unprecedented level that we can refer to it as a new form of slavery.”

Israel’s signature to the Convention was appended by Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi on Sunday.

In a series of Twitter posts, Tal Becker — a legal adviser to the foreign ministry — wrote that “the Convention is considered a major step forward in the battle against human trafficking, and includes detailed rights for victims, strengthening national coordination and mechanisms for effective international cooperation.”

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Added Becker: “This accession is the culmination of many years of work by our Treaty Department, together with the MoJ and other partners and signifies Israel’s deep commitment to combatting this horrific phenomenon, reinforcing our role as a global actor in this critical fight.”

According to a 2017 International Labor Organization (ILO) report on human trafficking, there are an estimated 24.9 million victims “trapped in modern-day slavery.” Of these, 16 million were exploited for labor, 4.8 million were sexually exploited, and 4.1 million were exploited in state-imposed forced labor.

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