Aga Khan in Prestigious Jury for First-Ever Business Leader’s Award to Fight Human Trafficking

Editor’s note: This post was updated on May 5, 2013 with the following opening remarks made by His Highness the Aga Khan at the Business Leader’s Award Ceremony of the END HUMAN TRAFFICKING NOW: ENFORCING THE UN PROTOCOL, Luxor International Forum. The background information about the ceremony and the fight against human trafficking was first published on December 12, 2010, and appear immediately after the remarks.


Opening Remarks made on December 12, 2010 by


His Highness the Aga Khan delivering the Opening Remarks during the Award Ceremony

His Highness the Aga Khan delivering the Opening Remarks during the Award Ceremony


Madame Mubarak Your Royal Highnesses

Excellencies Distinguished Guests Ladies and Gentlemen


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 emphasize 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. 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 organizations 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.


Article compiled by Simerg

The Jury is composed of individuals of high moral stature with a demonstrated commitment to the ideals of the United Nations who have distinguished themselves in their respective careers…(United Nations Statement)

Ten years after the Palermo Protocol, top world personalities will convene from December 10-12 in an International Forum in Luxor, Egypt, to outline a roadmap for ending human trafficking. The Forum is organized by End Human Trafficking Now! and The Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT).

The Luxor Forum will aim to achieve the following:

1. Fully capture the various dimensions of human trafficking as a modern form of slavery and the heavy toll it poses to human dignity and security;

2. Engage moral figures, business leaders, artists and academics to assume the role of champions of this worthy cause;

3. Build 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,violence against women and children, HIV/AIDS, and the campaign against missing children.

End Human Trafficking Now!, is an initiative of the Suzanne Mubarak Women‘s International Peace Movement (SMWIPM). It is the first global campaign to involve the business community in anti- trafficking efforts. Most anti-trafficking initiatives today have been undertaken by governments and NGOs. Very few programmes have actually engaged the business sector and made use of their global reach and network of connections.

“Luxor is a call to fully engage the private sector in the fight against human trafficking,” said Egypt’s First Lady. “Today‘s economic engine is enterprises, and their social responsibility is pivotal for putting an end to this terrible scourge,” she added.

The Luxor International Forum has resonated well with the business community, which will be represented by CEOs of major corporations covering very diverse sectors – from Oil to Tourism.

One of the main messages of the Luxor Forum is that no country is exempt. With an estimated 27 million victims, Human Trafficking is the world‘s second most profitable crime, after Arms. And it is a crime that knows no boundaries. According to the International Labour Organizarion (ILO), forced labour of trafficked persons raises profits of US$ 38 billion a year, including US$ 28 billion from the sexual exploitation of women and children, half of which is in industrialised countries. This has been exacerbated by globalisation, including the use of the Internet.

Illegal trafficking also brings huge and quick benefits. Traffickers can be ‘reimbursed’ within three months of their ‘investment’, while the victims can be sold over and over again, making this crime highly lucrative.

“I thought slavery had died out hundreds of years ago,” said Sir Richard Branson, Chairman, Virgin Group. “It was only recently that I found out that human trafficking still existed.”

The Forum wants to make it clear that slavery is still very real and needs to be eradicated. With a unique mix of participants – youth, media, government, the entertainment industry – the Luxor Forum hopes to provide a platform for the business community to diversify its partners, understand its responsibility within its own area of operation, and identify and share its role within the anti-trafficking campaign.

On the last day a prestigious jury including Suzanne Mubarak, Princess Mathilde of Belgium and the 49th Ismaili Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, will present the first-ever award in history to recognize a business executive‘s energy and commitment in tackling human trafficking.

In a statement the United Nations said that the jury is “composed of individuals of high moral stature with demonstrated commitment to the ideals of the United Nations.”

The Evaluation and Selection process for the Award is as follows:

1. Qualifying entries were reviewed by members of the Advisory Committee who  used an average score system to produce a shortlist of 25 candidates.

2. A detailed reference and fact check of the short listed candidates was then conducted by the award secretariat.

3. This was followed by a second round of screening by the Advisory Committee using a preferential voting system to select five nominees for consideration by the Jury.

4. A further evaluation of the five finalists was then conducted, including include site visits and one-on-one interviews to provide in-depth information on the businesses executive and the initiative.

5. The five final candidates were informed of their position and invited to the award ceremony to be held in Luxor in 12 December 2010, where a final decision on the winner of the award will be taken by the Jury .

The trophy will take the form of a glass sculpture of symbolic and artistic value, designed exclusively by luxury watch, jewellery, and accessories designer Chopard. This will be accompanied by a certificate of commendation signed by the jury members. There is no monetary prize attached to the award.

The Award Ceremony will take place every two years at the end of the award cycle.

The Jury and their Terms of Reference:

The Jury is composed of individuals of high moral stature with a demonstrated commitment to the ideals of the United Nations who have distinguished themselves in their respective careers. Members of the Jury serve in their individual capacity.

The Jury functions as an independent body responsible for the selection of the winner for each award cycle. The decisions of the Jury are final.

Her Excellency Suzanne Mubarak
Founder and President of the Women’s International Peace Movement
H.E. Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak, wife of Egypt’s President Mubarak, is a social scientist and Founder and President of the Women’s International Peace Movement She spent her early career studying closely disadvantaged communities to understand better ways and means of improving their living conditions. These early experiences have greatly shaped her outlook and determination to place the human being at the centre of all development activities.
His Highness the Aga Khan
His Highness the Aga Khan, a direct lineal descendant of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), is the 49th hereditary Imam – spiritual leader – of the Shia Ismaili Muslims. Consistent with general Muslim tradition, the Imam’s mandate is to guide his community in matters of faith, and to work for its security and improved quality of life, alongside that of wider society. The Aga Khan is the founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), a group of non-denominational international development agencies, active in 38 countries, dedicated to improving the quality of life of vulnerable societies.
Mr. Antonio Maria Costa
Mr. Antonio Maria Costa served as Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Director-General of the United Nations Office in Vienna (UNOV) from 2002 to 2010. Mr. Costa was born in Italy. He holds a degree in political science from the University of Turin (1963), a Degree in mathematical economics from the Moscow State University (1967), and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California at Berkeley (1971). From 1969 to 1983, Mr. Costa served as senior economist in the United Nations Department of International Economics and Social Affairs in New York.
Mr. Georg Kell
 Georg Kell is the Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact, the world’s largest voluntary corporate responsibility initiative with More than 6,000 participants in over 130 countries. Spanning More than two decades, his career with the United Nations began in 1987 at the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva. In 1997, Mr. Kell joined the Office of the UN Secretary-General in New York
Mr. Henrik O. Madsen
Dr. Madsen is the President and CEO of Det Norske Veritas (DNV), a leading international provider of services for managing risk and an independent foundation with the purpose of safeguarding life, property and the environment. Dr. Madsen began his career in DNV in Oslo in 1982 as Chief Scientist in Structural Reliability Analysis. Since then Dr. Madsen has held various leading positions in DNV. In May 2006, Dr. Madsen assumed the position as President and CEO of DNV. He introduced ambitious strategic goals for DNV to grow and focus its services towards selected industry sectors. Dr. Madsen’s attention today is very much focused on corporate responsibility, environment and climate change issues, and how DNV can contribute to a safe and sustainable future. Dr. Madsen is a Council member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

Date article posted on Simerg: December 12, 2010.
Date updated: May 5, 2013 (Remarks by His Highness the Aga Khan)




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One thought on “Aga Khan in Prestigious Jury for First-Ever Business Leader’s Award to Fight Human Trafficking

  1. Who ever said that the 49th hereditary Imam of Shi’ite Ismaili Muslims did not take up global issues? Although this speech was made in December 2010 the concern in humanitarian matter is proved here.

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