UN launches anti-human trafficking drive in Portugal

April 14th, 2012 - 10:29 am ICT by IANS  

Lisbon, April 14 (IANS) A United Nations’ public awareness campaign against human trafficking has been launched in Portugal.

Organised by the UN Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), the drive was launched in the Portuguese city of Porto Friday, as it is felt only public awareness campaign can ensure more people being brought to justice, Xinhua reported.

On this occasion, Pierre Lapaque, chief of the Law Enforcement, Organised Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Unit at the UNODC, said: “This (human trafficking) is a criminal niche with very good market opportunities. It is (considered) a low risk high profit crime.”

The crime is difficult to track and confirm, he said, adding that the average rate of people’s conviction for human trafficking worldwide being only 1.5 per 100,000 people.

Lapaques says only public awareness campaign can ensure more people being brought to justice.

“In some countries, human trafficking is not even a crime,” he said.

The Blue Heart campaign is an awareness raising initiative to fight human trafficking and its impact on society, combining efforts of government, private companies, NGOs and the civil society.

According to government data, in Portugal, the largest group of foreign victims is from Brazil, 29 percent, followed by Romanians, 22 percent, and Mozambicans, 16 percent.

There is also a large number of Portuguese that are victims of human trafficking, around 20 percent, normally taken to forced labour or sexual exploitation in other European countries.

-Indo-Asian News Service

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