UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called for greater global cooperation as criminals seek to profit from the COVID-19 pandemic.
With criminal networks looking to profit from the COVID-19 pandemic, "it is critical for governments to work together in line with a landmark UN treaty to combat human trafficking, gun smuggling and other cross-border crimes," the UN chief said in a video message to the latest meeting of countries that have signed the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Palermo Convention, as the treaty is also known, and the UN chief underlined its importance at this particular moment.
"Criminals are seeking to profit from the COVID-19 crisis," said Guterres.
"The pandemic has also heightened the vulnerability of migrants to risks of human trafficking and migrant smuggling. International cooperation through the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime is more urgent than ever," the secretary-general noted.
The week-long meeting, officially the 10th session of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the Convention, is being held by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
Some 190 countries are party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, the only legally binding global instrument against this threat.
The convention was adopted by the UN General Assembly in November 2000 and entered into force three years later. It is supplemented by three Protocols against Trafficking in Persons, Smuggling of Migrants, and Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms.