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US ambassador: Trafficking in persons, unforgivable; Gov't cannot remedy these situations alone

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Trafficking in persons, regardless of its form, is intolerable and unforgivable, but the Government cannot remedy these situations alone, and the involvement of civil society is needed, the US ambassador in Bucharest, Adrian Zuckerman, said on Monday.

He made these remarks at the launch of an online campaign and platform (munca.info) against labor exploitation, especially in the context of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

The American diplomat emphasized, in an online speech, the role of the authorities, but also spoke about the involvement of civil society. At the same time, he noted that unlike the atrocities of trafficking for sexual exploitation, trafficking in persons for the purpose of labor exploitation is often overlooked.

Trafficking in persons, in whatever form, is intolerable and unforgivable, Ambassador Zuckerman said, adding that he applauds those who work to combat this terrible scourge. Unlike the atrocities of trafficking for sexual exploitation, trafficking in persons for the purpose of labor exploitation is often overlooked or even revoltingly accepted as a natural business practice. It is not. Trafficking for labor is trafficking in persons and must be fought with the same tenacity as any other flagrant violation of human rights.

The US ambassador in Bucharest stressed that Romania is on a new path in terms of the fight against trafficking in persons.

The government led by Prime Minister Orban is committed to eradicating all forms of trafficking in persons. However, the government alone cannot remedy these situations. Civil society, international partners, communities and the government must work together to achieve a common goal, the diplomat pointed out.

The British Ambassador in Bucharest, Andrew Noble, also spoke about forced labor and similar situations in his country.

Forced labor is part, along with trafficking in persons and other criminal acts, of what the British Government calls modern slavery. The fight against modern slavery is an absolute priority for the UK Government and certainly for the British Embassy in Bucharest, given that over the last decade, Romania has become the first country of origin in the EU for victims identified in the British system. The main types of exploitation reported by victims with Romanian citizenship are primarily forced labor, said Noble.

To combat this phenomenon, he stressed, it is necessary to ensure the transparency of the private milieu to prevent exploitation in production chains, improve the national protection system and increase the capacity of the authorities to investigate and judge.

In his turn, the head of the Romanian office of the International Organization for Migration, Mircea Mocanu, referred to the situation of some workers from non-EU countries, who come to work in Romania.

Subsequently, just as munca.info provides information on the destination countries and ways in which potential victims of trafficking can reach a safe place, we want to do the same in Romania, he said.

The www.munca.info platform is presented as "a unique information point on the prevention of trafficking in persons for labor exploitation, which contains information on workers' rights, safety measures, but also useful resources". Worker's rights, safety measures and a telephone number for assistance in cases of exploitation can be accessed on that website.

According to munca.info, 16 million people are forced into forced labor globally.

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