The United Nations today launched a manual for parliamentarians across the world aimed at helping lawmakers end the global scourge of modern-day slavery and human trafficking.
“Around the world, millions of people, usually women and children, are trapped in a modern form of slavery called human trafficking,” Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said at the launch of the handbook.
Trafficking in persons is a form of slavery, a human rights violation that constitutes a crime against the individual and the State, and it must be punished by legislative means, UNODC said in a news release.
“Twenty-first century abolitionists are now needed to enact laws and take measures to set victims of trafficking free and stamp out a crime that shames us all,” stressed Mr. Costa, as he called on parliamentarians to put an end to human trafficking at the 120th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Addis Ababa.
According to a UNODC report published in February, based on information provided by 155 Member States, two out of every five countries covered by the report have yet to convict anyone on trafficking charges.
Although no UNODC figures are available for the number of trafficking victims worldwide, the UN International Labour Organization (ILO) has said that two million people become enslaved annually.
UNODC reported that only one victim out of every 100 trafficking cases is rescued, and at present there are 22,500 cases of people being recovered worldwide. Also, nearly 80 per cent of reported trafficking comprises sexual exploitation, but sweatshops and child exploitation are also prevalent.
“Combating Trafficking in Persons: A Handbook for Parliamentarians” – created in collaboration with IPU – contains a compilation of international laws and good practices developed to combat human trafficking, and offers guidance on how national legislation can be brought in line with international standards.
The handbook not only outlines measures to prevent the crime but also to prosecute offenders and to protect victims, and includes advice on how to report on human trafficking and how to enlist civil society in the cause.