This year, governments will negotiate a global compact on migrationthrough the United Nations. This will be the first overarching international agreement of its kind. It will not be a formal treaty. Nor will it place any binding obligations on states. Instead, it is an unprecedented opportunity for leaders to counter the pernicious myths surrounding migrants, and lay out a common vision of how to make migration work for all our nations.
This is an urgent task. We have seen what happens when large-scale migration takes place without effective mechanisms to manage it. The world was shocked by recent video of migrants being sold as slaves.
Grim as these images were, the real scandal is that thousands of migrants suffer the same fate each year, unrecorded. Many more are trapped in demeaning, precarious jobs that border on slavery anyway. There are nearly six million migrants trapped in forced labour today, often in developed economies.
How can we end these injustices and prevent them recurring in future? In setting a clear political direction about the future of migration, I believe that three fundamental considerations should guide discussions of the compact.
The first is to recognise and reinforce the benefits of migration, so often lost in public debate. Migrants make huge contributions to both their host countries and countries of origin.