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As prepared

Thank you, Chair, for allowing me the floor again to underscore our shared commitments to tackle transnational organized crimes. Currently, there are over 100 million people globally who were forcibly displaced by violence, poverty, and climate crisis. This includes over 3 million across the Americas and nearly 200 thousand here in the Mediterranean region. These individuals are unfortunately the prime targets for traffickers and smugglers. By deploying a multifaceted international response, we can hold perpetrators to account, reduce violence and criminality, protect individuals, and strengthen our global community.

First, we need to leverage our participation in multilateral fora. This includes addressing broader issues of criminality and corruption that tear at societal fabric and cause social and political unrest. To advance these objectives, in December, the United States will host in the U.S. city of Atlanta the Conference of the States Parties (COSP) to the UN Convention against Crime (UNCAC). This is an opportunity for us to identify clear measures to counter corruption and transnational organized crime. The U.S. is encouraging high-level participation throughout the week, and I hope to see many of you there.

Second, we need to drive fit-for-purpose coalitions that combat issues fuelling transnational organized crime, such as the proliferation of synthetic drugs. The U.S. is prioritizing efforts to address the truly global scourge of synthetic drug manufacturing and distribution. Synthetics can be made virtually anywhere, and with their low production costs and extreme potency, criminals are reaping high profits through only small, hard-to-detect volumes. That’s why the United States launched the Global Coalition to Address Synthetic Drug Threats this past July. Since that time, more than 110 countries have joined the Coalition and are actively contributing to three working groups and seven sub-working groups. I want to extend my gratitude to our Italian partners, who are a co-lead of the working group focused on detecting emerging drug threats and use patterns. The other two working groups focus on “preventing the illicit manufacturing and trafficking of synthetic drugs” and “promoting public health interventions and services to prevent and reduce drug use, overdose, and other related harms.” I encourage participation in these working groups because without coordinated international action, synthetics will continue to devastate our towns and cities and fuel criminality. Please join us in this fight.

Third, continued investments in capacity building for criminal justice actors to identify, disrupt, investigate, prosecute, adjudicate and incarcerate transnational criminals. As we have discussed today, UNTOC’s implementation and its protocols provide the foundation we need to combat transnational crimes such as trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling. While we work together to punish those responsible, we must also support migrants and other vulnerable groups that remain susceptible to trafficking and smuggling. For our part, the U.S. administers foreign assistance funding to train and mentor criminal justice actors, strengthen the migration system capacity of other countries, and provide victim support services. Our efforts are amplified by the contributions and collaboration of our dedicated partners, including many of you in the room.

The global challenges associated with transnational crime are many. However, our collective action on UNTOC and its protocols, along with strong partnerships, will help us meet the moment as we move ahead together.

Thank you.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future