UN renews push to make human trafficking a crime

May 14th, 2009 - 6:18 am ICT by IANS  

New York, May 14 (DPA) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for making human trafficking a crime and protecting victims.
The UN said human trafficking is a $32-billion-dollar a year business, second only to traffic in drugs and weapons. The victims are mostly women and children, some of whom are forced to become child soldiers.

Ban Wednesday joined a day-long debate on human trafficking in the UN General Assembly in a new effort to urge governments to ratify a protocol banning the practices of transnational commerce in people for sexual slavery, illegal domestic labour and adoption.

Ban also called on the international community to take measures to reduce the demand, end the impunity of those engaged in human trafficking and protect the victims.

“It is about human rights, peace and security, development and family health,” he said. “In the most basic sense, it is about preserving the fabric of society.”

Ban cited the campaign in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where authorities and the UN have since January freed more than 1,300 children caught in human trafficking. He said several organisations have begun working together to end the practice.

The UN Drugs and Crime Office has appointed acclaimed US painter Ross Bleckner as a goodwill ambassador to combat human trafficking. An exhibition of 200 paintings done by former child soldiers and abducted girls in Uganda was opened at UN headquarters in New York for the occasion.

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