Remarks by Ambassador Kim at the OSCE Conference on Joint Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking in Albania

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Hello, Ambassador of Monaco, Ambassador Ekstedt, Ambassador Soreca, Vice-Minister Kuko, distinguished guests.

It is a pleasure to be here. As you know, President Biden and Secretary Blinken have made it clear that corruption, human rights abuses, and other destabilizing crimes pose threats to the national security of the United States.

They called on all US government agencies to defend the United States and its allies from the damage that serious crimes and human rights violations, such as human trafficking, inflict on our national security.

With this in mind, we want to stress the importance of combating human rights violations in Albania. Albania’s preparations for EU membership negotiations and membership demand nothing less.

President Biden’s recent decree on the Western Balkans elevates the protection of human rights – and therefore the fight against human trafficking – to a national priority for the United States. We intend to hold to account those responsible for or complicit in serious human rights violations in the Western Balkans. This means that the traffickers represent, to quote the language of the ordinance, “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”

If you are trafficking in human beings, we can prevent you from entering the United States by suspending your United States travel documents.

If you have an American visa, this will no longer help you.

If you have a petition for an immigrant visa, too bad.

If you are trafficking people, the US government can take action against your property if it is in transit or has a connection to the United States.

Note that President Biden’s executive order requires collective action, which is the topic of today’s forum.

We will implement the order by coordinating our actions – internally and externally – j to achieve our common goal.

Albania is at a turning point – it has been a NATO member since 2009, achieved a successful turn as OSCE Chairman-in-Office in 2020, just won a seat on the UN Security Council for 2022-2023, and is about to officially open EU membership negotiations.

Now is the time for Albania – government, civil society, media, others – to show leadership in the global effort to end human trafficking.

With civil society, including the NGOs that run three of the Albanian shelters for victims of trafficking, the Interior Ministry, the Justice Ministry and judicial institutions may re-launch efforts complicated by COVID-19 to further identify victims, prosecute and convict traffickers and prepare those who have been trafficked to reintegrate into society.

Thanks to the justice reform, you know that you have the institutions and professionals to put traffickers behind bars and take care of the victims.

We urge the Government of Albania to redouble its efforts to identify the victims, cure them and send the traffickers to prison.

Let’s work together in partnership – as the concept note for this event says – to fight human trafficking.

Thank you.


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