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UNODC report on human trafficking exposes modern form of slavery

UNODC report on human trafficking exposes modern form of slavery

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Published by N R Dewi Nurmayani
A Global Report on Trafficking in Persons launched today by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) provides new information on a crime that shames us all.
Based on data gathered from 155 countries, it offers the first global assessment of the scope of human trafficking and what is being done to fight it. It includes: an overview of trafficking patterns; legal steps taken in response; and country-specific information on reported cases of trafficking in persons, victims, and prosecutions.
At the launch of the Report in New York, the Executive Director of UNODC, Antonio Maria Costa said that "many governments are still in denial. There is even neglect when it comes to either reporting on, or prosecuting cases of human trafficking". He pointed to the fact that while the number of convictions for human trafficking is increasing, two out of every five countries covered by the UNODC Report had not recorded a single conviction.
According to the Report, the most common form of human trafficking (79%) is sexual exploitation. The victims of sexual exploitation are predominantly women and girls. Surprisingly, 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.
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.
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.
The United Nations Protocol against Trafficking in Persons - the foremost international agreement in this area - entered into force in 2003. The Report shows that in the past few years the number of Member States seriously implementing the Protocol has more than doubled (from 54 to 125 out of the 155 States covered). However, there are still many countries that lack the necessary legal instruments or political will.
"This Report increases our understanding of modern slave markets, yet it also exposes our ignorance", said Mr. Costa. "We have a big picture, but it is impressionistic and lacks depth. We fear the problem is getting worse, but we can not prove it for lack of data, and many governments are obstructing", he admitted. The head of UNODC therefore called on governments and social scientists to improve information-gathering and -sharing on human trafficking. "If we do not overcome this knowledge crisis we will be fighting the problem blindfolded", he warned.
In a Panel Discussion on "Exposing Denial and Benign Neglect", Mr. Costa called on governments, the private sector, and the public at large to step up the fight against trafficking in persons. "More must be done to reduce the vulnerability of victims, increase the risks to traffickers, and lower demand for the goods and services of modern-day slaves", he said.
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.
A Global Report on Trafficking in Persons launched today by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) provides new information on a crime that shames us all.
Based on data gathered from 155 countries, it offers the first global assessment of the scope of human trafficking and what is being done to fight it. It includes: an overview of trafficking patterns; legal steps taken in response; and country-specific information on reported cases of trafficking in persons, victims, and prosecutions.
At the launch of the Report in New York, the Executive Director of UNODC, Antonio Maria Costa said that "many governments are still in denial. There is even neglect when it comes to either reporting on, or prosecuting cases of human trafficking". He pointed to the fact that while the number of convictions for human trafficking is increasing, two out of every five countries covered by the UNODC Report had not recorded a single conviction.
According to the Report, the most common form of human trafficking (79%) is sexual exploitation. The victims of sexual exploitation are predominantly women and girls. Surprisingly, 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.
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.
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.
The United Nations Protocol against Trafficking in Persons - the foremost international agreement in this area - entered into force in 2003. The Report shows that in the past few years the number of Member States seriously implementing the Protocol has more than doubled (from 54 to 125 out of the 155 States covered). However, there are still many countries that lack the necessary legal instruments or political will.
"This Report increases our understanding of modern slave markets, yet it also exposes our ignorance", said Mr. Costa. "We have a big picture, but it is impressionistic and lacks depth. We fear the problem is getting worse, but we can not prove it for lack of data, and many governments are obstructing", he admitted. The head of UNODC therefore called on governments and social scientists to improve information-gathering and -sharing on human trafficking. "If we do not overcome this knowledge crisis we will be fighting the problem blindfolded", he warned.
In a Panel Discussion on "Exposing Denial and Benign Neglect", Mr. Costa called on governments, the private sector, and the public at large to step up the fight against trafficking in persons. "More must be done to reduce the vulnerability of victims, increase the risks to traffickers, and lower demand for the goods and services of modern-day slaves", he said.
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.

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Published by: N R Dewi Nurmayani on Feb 15, 2013
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Southern Africa

Services provided to victims

Local NGOs provide medical assist-
ance and housing services for traffick-
ing victims. The Child and Gender
Protection Unit (Lesotho Royal Mounted
Police) have trained staff providing psycho-
social care and support and play therapy for
children who have been sexually abused, as well
as for other victims of abuse.

Lesotho

Institutional framework

Lesotho does not have a specific provision crim-
inalizing human trafficking. The provisions of
the Child Protection and Welfare Bill of 2004
deal with the protection of children in cases such
as abduction, child stealing and sexual abuse.
The Sexual Offences Act No. 29 of 2003 and the
provisions of the Labour Code Order No. 24 of
1992 might be applied to prosecute some forms
of trafficking for sexual exploitation and forced
labour.

Criminal justice response

The Child and Gender Protection Unit (CGPU)
was established by the Lesotho Mounted Police
in November 2002. Currently, the CGPU has
an office in each of the 11 police districts in
Lesotho; three officers (male and female) are
assigned to each office. Cases of trafficking of
women and children fall within the jurisdiction
of this unit.

Because of the absence of a specific provision on
human trafficking, no prosecutions or convic-
tions were recorded for trafficking in persons
during the reporting period. Three convictions
were recorded in 2005 for sexual exploitation
and one conviction in 2004 for child stealing.

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