Just say no to exploitation, UN anti-crime chief says in drive to end human trafficking
“Moral outrage is not going to stop the traffickers,” UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa said in a speech in New York last night. “We need to change their risk and return balance, lowering their incentives to trade and increasing the threat of retribution.
“That means less demand for the products and services of exploited people: no cheap labour-intensive goods, no sex holidays, no conflict diamonds or pearls, no free toxic waste disposal, no inexpensive home services,” he added.
Mr. Costa urged UN Member States to ensure that a major conference on human trafficking in Abu Dhabi in March produces concrete results to help end the trade in human beings. Around 1,000 representatives from government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other bodies will attend what is expected to be the largest-ever conference on human trafficking.
The Government of the United Arab Emirates will host the Abu Dhabi Global Initiative to End Trafficking in Persons from 26-28 March, with UNODC the support.
Mr Costa stressed the trade in human beings for exploitation in forced labour or the sex trade was thriving because it was lucrative and firm action is needed to curb demand. He urged all Member States to implement the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.
The March meeting is part of the global momentum building against trafficking in persons. “Greater attention to this modern form of slavery is spurring people and States to act,” Mr. Costa said.
“There have been conferences that have changed the world’s views on development assistance, the conditions of women, or the danger of the AIDS pandemic. So I urge you to attend and propose concrete initiatives to make the Abu Dhabi meeting the anti-slavery counterpart of these successful events.”
Among the expected outcomes is the establishment of a clearing-house for internationally comparable data on trafficking in persons. “At the moment we all are in a statistical fog,” Mr. Costa said.