UN agency criticizes efforts to slow human trafficking, seeks unified approach

[JURIST] In a report [text; press release] released Monday, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime [official website] criticized the efforts of countries around the world as ineffective in blocking the flow of people smuggled into countries, many of whom are sexually exploited or forced to work as slaves. The report, which calls for a more unified approach through international cooperation and data sharing with the UN, claims that the vast majority of cases involve women and children with just nine percent involving men. Sexual exploitation is a factor in most cases as well.

In his foreword to the report, UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa wrote that UN states need to improve their efforts to prevent, prosecute and protect those involved in human trafficking:

  • A main challenge is to reduce demand, whether for cheap goods manufactured in sweatshops, or for under-priced commodities produced by bonded people in farms and mines, or for services provided by sex slaves. Prevention should involve information campaigns to reduce the vulnerability of people to trafficking. If people are aware of the dangers of human trafficking, the chances of avoiding its consequences should be improved.

  • Another big challenge is to target the criminals who profit from the vulnerability of people trying to escape from poverty, unemployment, hunger and oppression. Traffickers are evil brokers of oppressed people whom they deliver into the hands of exploiters. They capitalize on weak law enforcement and poor international cooperation. I am disappointed by the low rates of convictions for the perpetrators of human trafficking.

  • Member States need to protect the trafficking victims, taking particular care to address the special needs of women and children. Such assistance is often lacking. Even worse, rescued victims are often re-trafficked because legislators and enforcement officials, despite their best intentions, sometimes produce and have to implement flawed laws that can put these same victims back into the clutches of their exploiters.
  • AFP has more.

     

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