UN Goodwill Ambassador Julia Ormond spotlights problem of human trafficking

20 July 2007

United Nations Goodwill Ambassador and renowned actress Julia Ormond has called for global efforts to combat human trafficking, highlighting the need to address the root causes that drive the problem.

A Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Ms. Ormond told a press briefing on Thursday that the problem is not widely understood.

Although trafficking is chronic in South East Asia, much of Africa and the Indo-European areas, human trafficking is “something that is in all countries and in most trades [and] is the largest growing global crime,” said Ms. Ormond.

“The problem is bigger, is more widely spread and is more violent than commonly thought,” echoed Mr. Antonio Maria Costa, the Executive Director of UNODC.

In response, legislation needs to be carried out not only by developing countries from where victims originate, but also by developed countries from where a majority of demand stems, he said.

Ms. Ormond urged UN Member States to devote more resources to addressing the scourge, which she said is linked to the problem of terrorism.

Because “it’s enormously profitable... terrorists are using trafficking as a financial resource…the same people who do trafficking in drugs and weapons do trafficking in people,” she said.

Pointing out that human trafficking “undermines States and transcends national situations,” British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry said countries have a “moral imperative” to fight it.

All three participants at the briefing called for measures improving education, fighting poverty, and striving to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to deal with the root causes of trafficking.

There must be solidarity and avoidance of shaming particular countries, Ms. Ormond emphasized. “None of us have done enough.”

Although more and more governments are acknowledging the reality of the situation in their own countries, Dr. Costa added that “we can all do more.”

 

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