Thursday, April 5, 2007

UN: UNODC Launches Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking

"Trafficking Victims: Countries of ORIGIN"
red=very high, peach=high, green=medium, teal=low, blue=very low, white=not reported (from "Trafficking in Persons: Global Patterns")

"Trafficking Victims: Countries of DESTINATION"
red=very high, peach=high, green=medium, teal=low, blue=very low, white=not reported (from "Trafficking in Persons: Global Patterns")

LONDON, (UNODC) - The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, together with other United Nations agencies, Governments, and NGOs, on Monday announced the launch of The Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking.

The launch, hosted by Baroness Mary Goudie, Member of the House of Lords and Board Member of Vital Voices Global Partnership, coincided with both the two hundredth anniversary of the abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the bicentennial of the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire.

A series of events throughout the world will culminate in Vienna with an International Conference against Human Trafficking from 27 - 29 November 2007.

Some 2.5 million people throughout the world are at any given time recruited, entrapped, transported and exploited - a process called human trafficking - according to estimates of international experts.

Trafficking in persons, whether for sexual exploitation or forced labor, affects virtually every region of the world. UNODC reports that persons from 127 countries become exploited in 137 nations.

"Slavery is a booming international trade, less obvious than two hundred years ago for sure, but all around us," said UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa. "Perhaps we simply prefer to close our eyes to it, as many law-abiding citizens buy the products and the services produced on the cheap by slaves."

Because human trafficking is an underground crime, with many undiscovered and unidentified victims, the true numbers are not known. The United States government estimates that between 600,000 and 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year.

Human trafficking has become big business. The U.N. and other experts estimate the total market value of illicit human trafficking at $32 billion - about $10 billion is derived from the initial "sale" of individuals, with the remainder representing the estimated profits from the activities or goods produced by the victims of this barbaric crime.

READ THE FULL PRESS RELEASE AT UNODC.org

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