Background Release

13 May 2003

Human Trafficking, Especially in Women and Children, to Be the Focus of UN Crime Commission Meeting

40-Member Body to Hold Twelfth Session in Vienna from 13 -22 May 2003

VIENNA, 13 May (UN Information Service) -- Human trafficking, especially in women and children, will be the focus of discussion at the twelfth session of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice beginning today.

While there is a dearth of reliable statistics worldwide on human trafficking, UNODC's newly-established global database, which focuses on such trends, allows for some general conclusions. The findings confirm that the majority of victims of human trafficking are women and children, and sexual exploitation is the most common form of such abuse. Persons are typically recruited from moderately poor countries, transported through countries which provide safe routes, and end up in more affluent parts of the world. Asia, the Former Soviet Republics and Africa are the major regions of origin. Also, some new specific insights have been gained, such as that Central Asia and Eastern Europe currently act mainly as a transit area for trafficked persons, or that Asia, excluding Japan, is now as much a source as a destination. The main destination regions can be found in the industrialized world and in Asia. The database was established under the Global Programme against Trafficking in Human Beings (GPAT) of UNODC's Centre for International Crime Prevention.

The main topics to be discussed at the twelfth session are: (a) Trends in trafficking in human beings; (b) Investigating and prosecuting cases on trafficking in human beings: national and international law enforcement cooperation and assistance; and (c) Awareness raising and social intervention: victim support and the role of civil society.

In addition, a Workshop on "Trafficking in Human Beings, Especially in Women and Children: Lessons Learned and Policy Implications" will be held on 15 May. The workshop is being organized by the institutes of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme (CICP) network and coordinated by the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI).

The current project portfolio of the CICP technical assistance programme is US$20 million. Of this total, US$3.1 million is allocated to human trafficking projects, US$2.7 million to anti-terrorism, US$2.4 million to the fight against transnational organized crime, and US$2.4 to anti-corruption work. US$8.8 million has been allocated to crime prevention and criminal justice projects, including a large programme for Afghanistan.

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