SI received a report on Feb 13 from one of our SI Representatives to the United Nations – Lois Beilin:
A discussion on Trafficking in Persons was held on February 12 at the UN to put the spotlight on exposing denial and benign neglect. Mr. Antonio Maria Costa, Undersecretary General and UNODC (Office on Drugs and Crime) et al reported on countries that are working to expose, eradicate and prosecute the increasing rate of sexual exploitation, slavery, abduction and recruitment for war, trade in body parts and other crimes.
- Data was gathered from 155 countries and is the first global assessment of the scope of human trafficking and what is being done to fight it.
- The number of convictions for human trafficking is increasing. However, there are still many countries that lack the necessary legal instruments or political will.
- The most common form of human trafficking (79%) is sexual exploitation and is predominantly women and girls. The second most common form of human trafficking is forced labour (18%), although this may be a misrepresentation because forced labour is less frequently detected and reported than trafficking for sexual exploitation.
- In 30% of the countries which provided information on the gender of traffickers, women make up the largest proportion of traffickers. In some parts of the world, women trafficking women is the norm having been victimized themselves.
- Worldwide, almost 20% of all trafficking victims are children. However, in some parts of Africa and the Mekong region, children are the majority (up to 100% in parts of West Africa).
- Although trafficking seems to imply people moving across continents, most exploitation takes place close to home. Data show intra-regional and domestic trafficking are the major forms of trafficking in persons.
To increase public awareness of human trafficking and rally the world to fight it, Mr. Costa appointed Academy Award-winning actress Mira Sorvino as a Goodwill Ambassador to Combat Human Trafficking. “We know that Mira’s commitment to the plight of trafficking victims will move people to take action against modern-day slavery”, said the Executive Director of UNODC.