2.4 Million Victims of Human Trafficking At Any Given Time Across the Globe

Human Wrongs Watch

New York – At any given time across the globe, some 2.4 million people are victims of human trafficking, a crime that generates $32 billion annually, rivalling the profits reaped by the illicit trade in arms and drugs. Every year, thousands of people fall into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and abroad, with women comprise two thirds of trafficking victims.

**Photo credit: Kay Chernush for the U.S. State Department | Wikimedia Commons

These are some of the spine-chilling facts, which were presented on 3 April by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)* at a special UN General Assembly meeting.

“Where traffickers use threats and weapons, we must respond with laws and prosecutions,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said during an interactive dialogue meeting at the UN General Assembly in New York, entitled “Fighting Human Trafficking: Partnership and Innovation to End Violence Against Women.”

Extreme Poverty Forces Families to Sell their Children

This dialogue, which was organized by the President of the General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, in conjunction with UNODC and the Group of Friends Against Human Trafficking, aimed at discussing ways in which countries can coordinate policies to strengthen their measures to combat this issue.

In his remarks, Ban emphasized that countries need to tackle the broad factors that lead to human trafficking, such as “extreme poverty, which forces families to sell their children to traffickers.” He also noted that migration is also closely linked to this issue, requiring States to take action on relevant policies.

“Women are lured out of their homes and countries with false promises. They are stripped of their passports, their dignity and their personal security,” Ban said. “To protect people from such exploitation, countries have to coordinate their labour and migration policies.”

Ban called on countries to adhere to the treaties that aim to stop human trafficking, in particular the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children; and stressed that resources would be needed to tackle the problem.

The World Has No Money for That!

He encouraged all those in attendance to contribute to the UN Trust Fund on Human Trafficking, which provides humanitarian, legal and financial aid to victims of trafficking through a range of avenues, including governmental, inter-governmental and civil society organizations.

Echoing Ban’s remarks, the General Assembly’s President Al-Nasser said the money received by the Fund so far was not enough.

“The Fund needs strong and continued support of Member States, and civil society, especially the private sector and the media, if it is to success as an engine for the delivery of assistance to victims,” Al-Nasser said.

He noted that human trafficking represents “an appalling form of human rights abuse,” and underlined the importance of protecting those vulnerable to it: women, children and migrants.

One of the Fastest Growing Criminal Industries

“Human trafficking is also one of the fastest growing criminal industries, rivalling the trafficking of illicit drugs and arms,” the Assembly President said, calling on individuals to back global strategic efforts that tackle this issue from all its aspects, including prevention, prosecution and victim assistance.

Referring to the UN Trust Fund on Human Trafficking, UNODC’s Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, reported that since it was created, around $1 million has been pledged, with around $470,000 contributed.

He added that funds received so far have supported the provision of educational, medical and psycho social assistance to child victims of trafficking in Cambodia; assisted victims in Albania through a reintegration program, and supported a Nepalese NGO almost entirely staffed by the survivors of human trafficking.

28 Million Africans Violently Removed and Cast into Slavery

In 2007, the General Assembly designated 25 March as the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade to honour the 28 million estimated Africans who were violently removed and cast into slavery, mainly in colonies in North America, South America and the West Indies.

In his remarks during the UN General Assembly meeting on 25 March to commemorate this year’s International Day, Al-Nasser said, “The terrible impacts of slavery and the slave trade are still felt to this day.”

Racism, Sexual Exploitation, Child labour, Child Soldiers…

“They have devastated continents and countries. They have led to profound social and economic inequalities, and have given rise to hatred, racism and prejudice,” he added.

Al-Nasser emphasized that Member States must work tirelessly “to eradicate modern slave-like practices that have emerged in the forms of racism, human trafficking, sexual exploitation, child labour, forced marriage, and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.”

*Source: UN 

**Prostitute talking to a potential customer in Western Europe. Photo credit: Kay Chernush for the U.S. State Department | Wikimedia Commons

Read also:

Who Dares to Challenge a 32 Billion Dollars Business – Human Trafficking? 

Millions of Urban Children at High Risk of Violence, Exploitation and Trafficking

Mr. Ban Has a Dream: That Big Business Will Fight Against Modern Slavery!

Small Farmers, Victims of Food Marketing Companies

Financial Trafficking in Millions of Citizens Is Not ‘Illicit’!

New Brand of Slavery Surfaces in America

Racism, Just Another Atrocious Weapon of Fear and Hatred

Over 100 Million Children, In Hazardous Work

Dispatch from Hell

2012 Human Wrongs Watch

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