I am convinced that, over time, the most effective weapon to combat human trafficking will be civil society’s rejection of these vile activities. It will be essential, therefore, to share the knowledge accumulated by the Award’s activities with civil society organisations around the world — including schools which teach about business, and the leisure industry, and the widest possible range of professional associations, NGOs, and community associations, from the cities and the countryside….

As this process of observation and analysis goes forward, we will also be better able to identify those situations which most readily give rise to human trafficking — including extreme poverty, conflict situations of all sorts, civil disorder, and the collapse of the family — and thus to predict areas where human trafficking is most likely to grow, or will be most difficult to eradicate. Predictability, in turn, will allow us to act more pre-emptively in protecting humankind against this scourge.

Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim.

Madame Mubarak Your Royal Highnesses,
Excellencies,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen:

Assalamu alaikum.

Let me express, first, my warmest thanks to Mrs. Mubarak and her End Human Trafficking Now! campaign. In this effort, as in so many areas of service — she has truly been “a voice for the conscience of the world.”

And let me also salute the two other sponsoring entities — the Global Initiative to Fight Trafficking, and the UN Global Compact.

The dedication of so many people to this important cause has been an inspiration to us all. I was deeply honoured to join this distinguished Jury. Speaking as the first Jury member to address you, I am at some risk, but fortunately the Jury’s decisions were unanimous!

As I congratulate all those who will be premiated tonight, I would like to emphasise the many-sided nature of this problem — and the need for a multiplicity of responses.

The Award honours “best practices” — in the plural. It seeks to encourage a diversity of approaches.

The candidates for this Award have developed specific knowledge from their own particular perspectives. Yet each example has something to teach us, lessons which can be broadly applied.

The candidates for this Award have developed specific knowledge from their own particular perspectives. Yet each example has something to teach us, lessons which can be broadly applied. We hope and expect that the spotlight which falls upon those recognised tonight will encourage and inspire countless others.

The Advisory Committee and the Secretariat have performed an enormous service in identifying such a well-qualified spectrum of candidates in this first Award cycle. The Jury was fortunate to receive such well-prepared documentation.

As this Award grows, it will be assembling an ever stronger portfolio of the best private sector responses to human trafficking. This portfolio will itself become an increasingly powerful global resource.

I am convinced that, over time, the most effective weapon to combat human trafficking will be civil society’s rejection of these vile activities. It will be essential, therefore, to share the knowledge accumulated by the Award’s activities with civil society organisations around the world — including schools which teach about business, and the leisure industry, and the widest possible range of professional associations, NGOs, and community associations, from the cities and the countryside.

The global response to this problem will be strengthened as the winners themselves share generously of their own knowledge and experience.

As this process of observation and analysis goes forward, we will also be better able to identify those situations which most readily give rise to human trafficking — including extreme poverty, conflict situations of all sorts, civil disorder, and the collapse of the family — and thus to predict areas where human trafficking is most likely to grow, or will be most difficult to eradicate. Predictability, in turn, will allow us to act more pre-emptively in protecting humankind against this scourge.

As we confront this challenge, forcefully and creatively, our response must be global in range, and diversified in character. I am convinced that this new Award, by identifying and premiating the world’s best business initiatives, as ethical exemplars for all of us, can make a significant contribution to this noble cause.

Thank you.

His Highness the Aga Khan IV

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