20 September 2005

Human Trafficking Threatening Global Development and Security

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Teams with Actress Julia Ormond to Highlight Dangers of Human Trafficking

VIENNA, 20 September (UN Information Service) -- Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is in Moscow, Russian Federation, on a working mission to draw attention to the threat posed by human trafficking, and its impact on both the victims of trafficking and global development.  The Executive Director UNODC, is assisted by Julia Ormond, actress and social activist. Mr. Costa, who is calling for intensified international cooperation as a means of combating trafficking and smuggling operations, is also encouraging governments to focus on prevention by working with civil society and the business community on public awareness campaigns.

"Organized crime is making millions via human trafficking," says Mr. Costa. "For thousands of women, girls, and children, trafficking means sexual exploitation, forced labor, or unwilling servitude in the drug trade. But for the cartels and crime syndicates, it's just another line of business."

The UNODC Executive Director also commented on the impact of human trafficking on globalization, noting, "Open borders and international trade promise prosperity to millions of the world's poorest citizens. But globalization also increases the vulnerability of this same population to transnational crime.  Human trafficking is nothing less than slavery in a slightly different guise."  According to the United Nations, human trafficking is on the increase. The consequences include not only a commensurate increase in prostitution and slave labour, but also a significant rise in HIV-AIDS.

UNODC is the custodian of the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (in force since 25 December 2003), and the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Air and Sea. UNODC is also responsible for oversight of the Convention against Corruption, which received its 30th ratification last week at United Nations Headquarters in New York. "Human trafficking," says Mr. Costa, "and the illegal revenue it generates, fuels both crime and corruption. This evil could not continue without the collusion of corrupt officials. And the fact that criminal organizations can smuggle people across the world's borders and through its ports with such impunity also means they can smuggle weapons, arms, drugs, and other dangerous commodities with equal ease."  

The Conventions against Transnational Organized Crime and against Corruption both outline measures designed to help Member States eliminate or prevent human trafficking. Nevertheless, Mr. Costa has urged countries "to go well beyond legislative actions in the fight to protect the victims of human trafficking."

"The Conventions and Protocols," says the UNODC Executive Director, "are just a starting point. Fighting human trafficking requires us to do more than just follow the 'letter of the law.' It also demands a personal, ongoing moral commitment." 

To read more about the international initiatives in the field of anti-human trafficking activities, please refer to http://www.unodc.org  


For more information, contact:

Kathleen Millar, Deputy Spokesperson, UNODC
Tel: +43 1 26060 5629
Mobile: + 43 6991 459 5629
Email: Kathleen.Millar@unodc.org


Flavio Mirella
UNODC Representative - Moscow
Tel: + 70 95 787-2121
Fax:  + 70 95 787-2129
e-mail: flavio.mirella@unodc.org
website: http://www.unodc.org/russia/index.html