Crown Princess Mathilde attends International Forum in Egypt

  December 16, 2010 at 1:10 pm by

From 10 to 12 December, Princess Mathilde participated in an international forum with the theme “End Trafficking Now” in Luxor, Egypt.

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The Forum brought together more than 500 representatives from governments, United Nations entities, non-governmental and international organisations, the business community and civil society. It was conducted in coordination with the Suzanne Mubarak Women’s International Peace Movement (SMWIPM) and the UN Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT).

During the conference, a feature-length documentary film about global human trafficking was screened for forum attendees. The film portrayed the horror of this modern-day phenomenon that affects millions of women, men and children in every part of the world.

In her speech, Princess Mathilde said that His Majesty King Baudouin was at the forefront of the fight to protect the victims of what is in fact a modern form of slavery, and that also Her Majesty Queen Paola is involved with several inititives to draw attention to this issue, among them the problem of vulnerable children on the run.

Furthermore, Belgium has given high priority to the issue of human smuggling, trafficking and exploitation both at a national and international level.

From the very start, Belgium has worked closely with the European Union and its other member states to adopt a pragmatic, integrated and comprehensive approach to the crime of human trafficking .

Princess Mathilde also added that during her trips all over the world for UNICEF and UNAIDS, she has seen just how much support is required for those who have been denied the possibility to develop their full potential, through lack of education and nutrition or clean healthcare.

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At the end of the forum, Mrs Mubarak attended a ceremony at the Luxor Temple to present the “Business Leader’s Award” to a group of businessmen, among whom was Egyptian tycoon Samih Sawiris of Orascom Telecommunications, for his pivotal role in combating human trafficking.

Princess Mathilde was part of the jury of these new international prize. Forum participants agreed on the following points: understanding human trafficking as a modern form of slavery, with the attendant heavy toll it poses to human dignity and security; engaging moral figures, business leaders, artists and academics to assume the role of champions of prevention; and building on the dynamism and power of youth to jointly develop tangible solutions to combat human trafficking. A special effort will be made to link with other campaigns, such as human rights protection, confronting violence against women and children, addressing HIV/AIDS, and the campaign on missing children.

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