NATO's anti-trafficking coordinator explains priorities

  • 09 May. 2007 - 09 May. 2007
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  • Last updated: 12 Aug. 2008 09:56

NATO's Assistant Secretary General for Defence Policy and Planning, Mr. John Colston, was recently appointed by the NATO Secretary General as the Senior Coordinator for NATO's efforts to combat trafficking in human beings.

His role will be to strengthen the Alliance's zero-tolerance policy on trafficking in human beings.

The policy was adopted by NATO in June 2004 and endorsed by NATO Heads of State and Government on 29 June 2004, at the Istanbul Summit. The policy was also endorsed by the then 46 members of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC).

It commits both member and Partner countries to reinforce measures to prevent and fight trafficking, including through increasing training and awareness of all military and civilian personnel and contractors taking part in NATO operations and missions.

"This universally condemned abuse of human rights affects stability and security in regions where NATO is engaged politically and militarily, and NATO, as much as all relevant organizations, should apply its part in combatting this form of organised crime", said Mr. Colston in a video interview for NATO's Web site.

Strengthening efforts

Mr. Colston also indicated that NATO, not the primary agency to combat human trafficking, will be seeking contact and cooperation with other international organizations and NGOs, which have far more experience in combatting trafficking in human beings.

The Senior Coordinator will be the point of contact for NATO’s policy on combating human trafficking and will be responsible for monitoring the implementation of the policy.

He will receive annual reports submitted by member and Partner countries, on a voluntary basis, and report regularly to the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s principal decision-making body, and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council on the progress of its implementation.

He will also liaise with the relevant national authorities, as well as with international organizations and NGOs to keep abreast of the latest developments in combatting human trafficking, inform them about NATO's policy and seek ways that NATO's policy is better coordinated with the activity of other international bodies.

All NATO members are signatories to the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons (especially Women and Children).