On 18-19 April 2023, The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) held its 23rd annual conference on the Alliance Against Trafficking in Persons. The Alliance gathers key stakeholders from across OSCE’s 57 participating states in North America, Asia and Europe, aiming to raise the political profile of the fight against trafficking in human beings, as well as to discuss emerging topics and trends in this area. This year, on the 20th Anniversary of the OSCE’s Action Plan on trafficking in human beings the focus lay with national leadership.
Day one began with a high-level opening session. The keynote address was provided by the OSCE Secretary General, Helga Maria Schmid, Bujar Osmani, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Theresa May, Ravshanbek Alimov, Chair of the Committee on International Relations and Foreign Economic Relations of the Senate of Uzbekistan and Pramilla Patten, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict. Following this, a series of international organisations and NGOs presented on the current scale of modern slavery, including the International Justice Mission, the Justice Defence Fund, the Freedom Fund, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Council of Europe.
The second day was opened by a panel of survivor leaders of modern slavery: Sophie Otiende, the CEO of the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery; Jane Lasonder, the Founder of Red Alert Task Force and Jordan Masciangelo, the Creative Director of MenHealing. The second panel that morning focused on anti-trafficking architecture, with interventions delivered by the national anti-trafficking coordinators of Finland, the United States, the Kyrgyz Republic and the Netherlands. After a series of side events held in the early afternoon, the closing panel focused on ‘Best Practices for combatting Modern Slavery’, with examples delivered by the Deputy Prime Minister of Bulgaria, the Minister of Justice of Spain, the National anti-trafficking coordinator of Romania, the Permanent Representative of Norway to the OSCE, the Head of the Cyprus Financial Intelligence Unit and the representative of Israel’s Cybercrime department.