Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged every country to join the fight against human trafficking as United Nations agencies and their partners vowed to work together to support and protect victims of this transnational crime, while pursuing and prosecuting criminals and their networks.
“The exploitation of human beings through trafficking is one of the gravest violations of human dignity that exist” today, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said and appealed for a “global anti-trafficking agenda” on in a joint video message by the Inter-Agency Coordination Group Against Trafficking in Persons to mark the World Day against Trafficking in Persons.
In 2013, the UN General Assembly designated July 30 as the World Day to “raise awareness of the situation of victims of human trafficking and for the promotion and protection of their rights.”
In his message on the Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon flagged the need to crackdown on criminal trafficking networks that thrive in countries where the rule of law is weak and international cooperation is difficult.
“I call on all countries to fight money laundering and sign and ratify the UN Conventions against corruption and transnational organized crime, including the latter’s human trafficking protocol,” Mr. Ban said.
He also applauded the donors who have enabled the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons to assist thousands of people and called for greater contributions to help the many million other victims of this crime move forward with their lives.
In the joint video message, International Labor Organization (ILO) Director-General Guy Ryder, said “21 million of the most vulnerable workers have been tricked and trapped into forced labour.”“We cannot stop until we get every single one of them out of forced labour,” Mr. Ryder said.
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka noted in her message that almost three-quarters of trafficked persons are women and girls and almost all people trafficked for sexual exploitation are women.
And Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said “we must give them hope and justice.”
UNODC’s most recent biennial Global Report on Trafficking in Persons highlights the true extent of the crime. With at least 152 countries of origin and 124 countries of destination affected by trafficking in persons, and over 510 trafficking flows crisscrossing the world, no country is immune.
Coupled with this, society’s most vulnerable appear to be increasingly targeted by those responsible for this crime: 33 per cent of known victims of trafficking are children, a five point increase compared with the 2007-2010 period. Girls make up two out of every three child victims. Together with women, they now account for 70 per cent of trafficked persons worldwide.
In 2010, the UN General Assembly adopted the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, urging Governments worldwide to take coordinated and consistent measures to defeat this scourge. The Plan calls for integrating the fight against human trafficking into the UN’s broader programmes in order to boost development and strengthen security worldwide.