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Human trafficking fastest growing form of organized crime: UN anti-crime chief

Human trafficking fastest growing form of organized crime: UN anti-crime chief

Pino Arlacchi
The world community today is confronted with new security challenges that target the safety of individuals, with human trafficking emerging as the fastest growing form of organized crime, according to the head of the United Nations anti-crime agency.

"I am not referring to the smuggling of migrants but to the modern form of human slavery where the victim loses the freedom to control his or her own life," Pino Arlacchi, the Executive Director of the Vienna-based UN Drug Control and Crime Prevention Programme (UNDCP), said today in an address to the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE).

"There are reports that drug traffickers are switching to human cargo to obtain greater profit with less risk," he said.

After noting several examples from around the world of thousands of persons - particularly women and children - taken against their will each year and forced into slavery or prostitution, Mr. Arlacchi said both organizations needed to be more proactive in implementing their common policy against trafficking in human beings.

"This means helping our Member States introduce or upgrade their legislation," he said. "It means assistance in the training of prosecutors and police. It means educating the public to the true nature of this form of crime."

Mr. Arlacchi said that as multilateral organizations, the UN and the OSCE could be especially effective in addressing the urgent need for operational cooperation along the whole chain - source countries, transit countries and destination countries.

"The OSCE already has initiatives of this nature, and the UN can work closely with those initiatives in trying to move forward on a global level," he said, calling for countries to ratify the International Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which received a record number of signatures last December in Palermo, Italy.