13 Feb. 2008


by NATO Senior Coordinator
on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings,
Ambassador Jiri Sedivy

Vienna Forum to Fight Human Trafficking

Ministers, Representatives, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for this opportunity to address the Vienna Forum and to provide you information on NATO’s policy on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings.

Human Trafficking is a universally condemned crime and a serious abuse of human rights and we, in NATO, share a responsibility to do our best in supporting efforts to eradicate this modern day slavery.

Currently, there are around 65.000 troops deployed in NATO-led operations around the world. These deployments are, almost by definition, in countries where law enforcement is not fully implemented and where there are serious challenges to internal law and order. NATO missions are different today since civilian and military activities are more closely linked then ever before.

Recent NATO operations and missions clearly demonstrate that reconstruction and development can not be achieved without security, and that security can not last without reconstruction and development. Therefore, we need to take a comprehensive approach to today's operations. We need to make sure that security and development efforts consolidate and reinforce each other. We also need to ensure that the international community uses all tools available to it -- diplomatic, political, economic, developmental and military -- in an effective and coherent way, in order to achieve its objective of promoting peace, development and democracy.

Being a peace-keeper deployed in any country or taking part in any mission under the NATO umbrella, implies respecting local legislation and traditions and assisting in the protection of human dignity and security. We always keep in mind that our standards of behaviour are scrutinised by the local population and the media and our credibility as peace-keepers rests on our reputation in this respect.

On the basis of these considerations, at the Istanbul summit in 2004, NATO Heads of State and Government endorsed a common policy to prevent and combat trafficking in human beings. The policy was prepared in consultation with our partners and other nations contributing troops to NATO-led operations.

Overall, there are two specific objectives of the NATO policy:

Firstly, to address the need to define the basic standards of behaviour to which NATO-led forces must adhere in the course of their work.

Secondly, to define the parameters within which NATO deployed forces can, within their competence and respective mandate, provide support to responsible authorities in the host country in their efforts to combat trafficking in human beings.

The NATO policy brings recommendations to nations and guidance to NATO institutions. Clearly, many of the measures to be taken, such as disciplinary action or pre-deployment training, remain under national responsibility. In that regard, the NATO policy commits both members 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. NATO members and Partners also commit themselves to take necessary legislative measures to implement the policy.

Now, I will concentrate on what we have done.

Let me first inform you about the work

NATO has a zero tolerance policy regarding trafficking in human beings by its troops and staff. The policy applies to all personnel in NATO-led operations, military and civilian alike – including non-NATO troops and subcontractors. Much has been done on defining and implementing the basic standards of behaviour.

  1. NATO authorities have drawn up and circulated guidelines of behaviour for civilian and military personnel taking part in NATO-led operations and missions.
  2. Both on the civilian side and on the military side, directives have been provided for the implementation of the policy, so that the civilians and troops are made aware of their responsibilities in theatre through Mission Rehearsal Exercise training prior to deployment.
  3. The NATO School in Germany and the NATO Defense College in Italy, have both integrated combating trafficking in human beings into various relevant courses in their curriculum and training modules have been developed. Three training modules have been put together for the benefit of nations. One other generic module is also available through the internet at the Swiss PfP Centre’s site Additionally, the Partnership for Peace Training Centre in Turkey offers a specific course on combating trafficking in human beings. NATO training modules have all been put together in cooperation with anti-trafficking experts from various governmental and non-governmental organisations.
  4. The operational plans of NATO-led operations have been revised also to reflect NATO policy on combating trafficking in human beings.

Furthermore, beyond defining and implementing the basic standard of behaviour, as I earlier indicated, the policy also aims to define the parameters within which NATO deployed forces can, within their competence and respective mandate, provide support to responsible authorities in the host country in their efforts to combat trafficking in human beings.

Based on the fact that NATO is not one of the primary agencies to combat human trafficking, the plans of various NATO-led operations provide the mandate for NATO’s support to either local authorities or International Community efforts in combating trafficking in human beings. KFOR in Kosovo, for example, provides support to and interacts with UNMIK Police, local authorities and NGOs, while ISAF liaises and supports various government agencies and International Organisations within its competencies and means.

Last year, Allies and Partners reviewed the practical aspects of implementation of the NATO policy. They tried to clarify various issues pertaining, among others, to accountability, reporting and evaluation. One result of this review was the creation of a position of NATO Senior Coordinator on combating trafficking in human beings – I was honoured to be vested with these responsibilities. Shortly, we will start a process of reviewing the implementation of the policy.

I believe it is of vital importance that NATO perseveres on its stand against human trafficking and that the policy of the Alliance should be fully implemented and further improved.

Cooperation with national authorities and international organisations is one of the Senior Coordinators main duties. In that respect, I am grateful for the platform that this conference provided me to exchange views and information.

Mr. Chair,

I wish you all the best with your endeavours.

Thank you.