London talks human trafficking

Mr. costa londonThursday 27 November - the global anti-trafficking movement STOP THE TRAFFIK hosted the first ever International People's Lecture on Human Trafficking in London, UK.

Speaking at the event were key figures in today's fight against trafficking - international human rights lawyer Cherie Booth QC, Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and Steve Chalke, Founder of STOP THE TRAFFIK.

Over 350 community leaders activists, school children, business people, media and politicians, educationalists, enforcement officers and STOP THE TRAFFIK partners from around the world gathered together to listen, be inspired, and reminded of why we are all part of the global quest to STOP THE TRAFFIK.

Renowned women's rights campaigner, Cherie Booth QC, spoke passionately about community involvement and action saying, "Trafficking is not something happening somewhere else. It is happening in every community, in our streets, on our doorsteps. We will only succeed in rooting out this misery and menace when we stand up and are counted. When, in fact, the fight to end trafficking in our fellow human beings becomes a mass movement demanding change."

Announcing a new UK-wide initiative aimed at engaging local groups and individuals in taking action on trafficking in their area called ACT - Active Communities Against Trafficking, Steve Chalke, Special Advisor on Community Action against Human Trafficking for UN Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT) - said, "Around the world, trafficking presents itself in many forms, but no matter what that form is, or where it takes place, trafficking always has a local face. We can all be a part of combating this hidden crime."

STOP THE TRAFFIK was honoured to host Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the UN Office for Drugs and Crime. He illuminated the responsibilities and the challenges of the United Nations in the three action areas relating to human trafficking: prevention of the crime, protection of the victims, and prosecution of the traffickers. He laid bare the lack of research and data on human trafficking but finished on an optimistic note. Thorough research is underway and the United Nations Tool Kit for Human Trafficking is ready for distribution. The United Nations is preparing to shift gear and address the horror of human trafficking head on.

When speaking on tackling this global crime, Mr. Costa said, "Human trafficking, namely modern slavery, is not some sort of unstoppable force. It is a series of acts that bring vulnerable people into the hands of criminals for the purpose of exploitation. Ladies and Gentlemen, we can stop the traffic. Keep up the fight."

In 2009, STOP THE TRAFFIK is set to shed further light upon this shadowy crime by engaging communities across the world in taking action in their local area. STOP THE TRAFFIK believes that because trafficking begins in the community, it must end in the community. ACT - Active Communities Against Trafficking - is a grassroots initiative which involves engaging and supporting people from all walks of life to take action; because when people ACT, things change.