Wednesday, April 18, 2007

UN: Fund to Combat Human Trafficking

UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations proposed a new global fund Monday to fight international human trafficking and forced labor, a problem that it said had grown to epidemic proportions and was rarely effectively prosecuted by governments.

"Slavery is a booming international trade that involves several million people a year being trafficked in bondage," said Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the UN Office of Drug and Crime, who announced the new initiative on trafficking in London.

"There is finally a growing awareness of a huge problem in terms of size, money and the human costs in terms of suffering," Costa added.

The UN estimates that 2.5 million people are trafficked and enslaved, although the crime is frequently unreported and many estimates are far higher. The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 12.3 million people across the globe in forced work. The U.S. government say that up to 800,000 people are shipped like commodities across international borders to serve as cheap labor.

About 50 percent of people smuggled and sold into forced work are minors and 80 percent are women and girls, according to a 2006 State Department study. Most end up working in the sex trade...


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