Human trafficking under spotlight at Conference of Parties meeting
( UNODC) - Human traffickers make an estimated $32 billion annually in an illicit market which affects millions of victims worldwide every year. On the margins of the sixth session of the Conference of State Parties to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), intergovernmental agencies, NGOs and government representatives discussed progress made and shared best practices and challenges in fighting one of the world's most shameful crimes and one which robs people of their dignity and basic rights.
The Mexican Secretary for State, Dr. Alejandro Poiré Romero, while presenting Mexico's security strategy for combating organized crime, gave an update of the Mexican government's progress with the Blue Heart Campaign against Human Trafficking. Mexico was the first country to adopt the campaign (Campaña Corazón Azul) in April 2010 to raise awareness on human trafficking. Since the launch, the campaign has held a number of awareness raising activities.
The Interagency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons (ICAT), a UN system-wide forum coordinating inter-agency efforts to combat human trafficking, launched a policy paper entitled The International legal framework relating to trafficking in persons which discusses international legislation and legal instruments on human trafficking and how they are interpreted and applied at national levels.
Other human trafficking related events taking place during the week include: a discussion on how NGOs are offering assistance to States in the implementation of the UNTOC and in particular the Trafficking Protocol; as well as discussions on the challenges of researching human trafficking and new technologies for use in preventing trafficking in persons.
In June, UNODC launched new global awareness-raising campaign that highlights some of the key threats being faced today - with human trafficking one of the leading concerns. The campaign, which can be seen on www.unodc.org/toc, includes a new video ( www.youtube.com/unodc).
Towards the end of 2012, UNODC will be publishing a new global report on trafficking in persons. Based on data collected from Member States, the report will provide a basis for evaluating how trends have changed since the last global UNODC data collection exercise in 2009 and will provide guidance as to what remains to be done.
UNODC also manages the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking (especially women and children). Officially launched in 2010 by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the Trust Fund supports the provision of on-the-ground humanitarian, legal and financial aid to victims of trafficking and provides members of the public an avenue through which they can donate to this important cause.
Since the launch in 2008 of the UNODC Blue Heart Campaign, a number of countries have adopted the campaign nationally to spread awareness on the dangers of human trafficking. Serbia and Switzerland are the latest countries to adopt the campaign, joining Lebanon, Mexico, Portugal and Spain.