Friday, October 12, 2007

UN: Tackle Trafficking With Economics

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA -- Millions of humans trafficked around the world will keep falling victim to an insatiable demand for cheap labour unless countries put an end to the "darker side" of globalisation, a U.N. agency said on Wednesday.

"It is no coincidence that most victims are from developing countries," said Jeffrey Avina, director of operations at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

"They are the most vulnerable to predators who exploit the dreams of poor and vulnerable people who are seeking a better life."

The victims, mostly women and children, have high hopes working as domestic servants or in factories will open new opportunities. But many are coerced into forced labour or prostitution, unable to break out of a cycle of exploitation.

More than 110 nations have signed and ratified a U.N. protocol against human trafficking since December 2003 but governments and their criminal justice systems have not curbed the practice.

Avina said relying solely on a moral approach to tackle the multibillion-dollar trade would fail to ease the suffering.

Speaking at an interfaith forum on fighting human trafficking co-hosted by the UNODC and the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, he said economic leverage should be used to undermine the networks.


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