HM The Queen's speech during a meeting on trafficking in India

UN office, New Delhi, India

(The spoken version shall take precedence)

Your Excellences,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for receiving us here today. And an especially warm thanks to you, Salina and Varsha.

Human trafficking is one of the most serious forms of organized crime. It involves the ruthless exploitation of other human beings. And it violates one of the most basic human rights: the right to decide over one’s own life and body.

There are many reasons why people get drawn into prostitution. But the fact remains: The primary factor that drives trafficking and prostitution is that there is a demand for the purchase of sexual services. And where there is demand, sadly, there will also be supply. Including children.

This is why I founded World Childhood Foundation twenty years ago: to put child sexual abuse and exploitation on the global agenda.

In the same year, 1999, Sweden became the first country in the world to introduce legislation that criminalizes the purchase, but not the sale, of sexual services.

This reflects the Swedish view, that efforts to undermine this market and to counteract the demand, are fundamental to combat and prevent prostitution and human trafficking.

Our discussion today has been both interesting and moving. Without doubt, much remains to be done – also here in India.

But I must say that being here today, listening to you, learning about the wonderful work of Apne Aap and others, I really feel that there is reason for hope.

Thank you all for taking the time to come here today and for sharing your knowledge with us.

Thank you.