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Human Trafficking a Major Challenge to the International Community

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 13 2013 (IPS) - Human trafficking continues to pose a major challenge to the international community even though some positive trends are visible, according to the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2012.

The study, released here Tuesday, says human trafficking is a crime that ruthlessly exploits women, children and men for numerous purposes, including forced labour and sex.

“This global crime generates billions of dollars in profits for the traffickers,” said Yury Fedotov, executive director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

According to the International Labour Organisation, nearly 21 million people are victims of forced labour globally. At least 136 different nationalities were trafficked and detected in 118 different countries.

The report quotes women, migrants and children, who are easy targets for exploitation in the sex industry, as the most vulnerable people to be victims of human trafficking.

The trafficking of children appears to be increasing, given that from 2007 to 2010, 27 percent of all victims detected globally were children, while from 2003 to 2006 that number was 20 percent.

“We, therefore, need to work harder at detecting and punishing this shameful criminal activity,” said Fedotov.

However, some positive developments can be extracted from the report. For example, 134 countries and territories had enacted legislation criminalizing trafficking in 2012. Another development is  the decline of trafficking from Eastern Europe and Central Asia since 2000.

“The report is a stepping stone in the right direction, and it highlights the dedication and commitment of member states to tackle this crime. But I call on countries to do more”, said Fedotov.

“We need comprehensive data about offenders and victims in order to assist in the development of sound policies and appropriate criminal justice responses”, he added.

“Human trafficking is a widespread crime in the early 21st century. It cannot be allowed to continue into the 22nd century,” he declared.

 
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