News Americas, UNITED NATIONS, NY, Tues. May 14, 2013: Top United Nations officials on Monday, May 13th urged the UN General Assembly to fully implement key anti-human trafficking treaties and to cooperate more closely to counter the multi-billion dollar industry which has trapped some 21 million men, women and children in forced labour.
“No effort must be spared to bring to an end the servitude of millions, while helping the survivors rebuild their lives,” General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic told the opening of the two-day high-level meetings on improving the coordination of efforts against trafficking in persons.
He said that human trafficking is now a global criminal enterprise that ensnares millions of people into forced labor and domestic servitude, sexual work and child soldiering. According to 2005 estimates released by the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO), profits generated in the sex industry alone are as high as $32 billion a year.
During the high-level meeting, countries will examine progress made on the UN Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons. Adopted in 2010, the Plan calls for integrating the fight against human trafficking into the United Nations’ broader programmes to boost development and strengthen security around the world.
The discussions focused on its four pillars – preventing trafficking, prosecuting offenders, protecting victims and forming partnerships to fight trafficking.
The Plan also set up the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.
In his remarks, Jeremic urged Member States, philanthropic organizations and the private sector to increase its support for the trust fund, created by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, noting that it “provides indispensable humanitarian, legal and financial aid for those most directly affected.”
Nearly one-third of all victims of human trafficking officially detected around the world between 2007 and 2010 were children, according to a report released in December 2012 by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) citing data from 132 countries.
Also addressing the Assembly, the Secretary-General reiterated calls for support to the Fund, urging Member States and partners to give “generously.”
He also noted the importance of universal ratification of key international treaties, including the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children. More than 154 countries have now ratified the Protocol which has been in force since 2003 and is overseen by UNODC. As well as the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime to which 175 countries are parties.
“Human trafficking is a vicious chain that binds victims to criminals. We must break this chain with the force of human solidarity,” Mr. Ban urged meeting participants.