Today, the second annual World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is calling for “definitive and marked action to both end the impunity of traffickers, and to drastically boost the much-needed support being provided to victims.”
It’s a timely call and one that needs to be heeded.
Each year, millions of women, men and children are trafficked for profit. They are sexually exploited, forced into demanding and often dangerous work in homes, farms and factories, forced into marriage or had organs harvested. It’s the fastest growing criminal activity in the world, and no country is immune. More, no community is immune.
Recently, a Franklin County, Ky., teenager was arrested and charged with trafficking a 15-year-old for sex, and staff at the Family & Children’s Place Kosair Charities Child Advocacy Center report seeing several victims each year. Statewide in Kentucky, law officers have identified 160 victims of human trafficking. Of those, 94 were trafficked as children, with the youngest just two months old. The average age is 21, with the most frequently occurring age being 17.
According to the UN’s latest Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, there are at least 152 countries of origin and 124 countries of destination affected by trafficking in persons, with more than 510 trafficking flows crisscrossing the world. As seen locally, society’s most vulnerable citizens, children, are increasingly targeted, with 33 percent of known victims to be children, a five-point increase over the 2007-2010 review period. Girls account for two out of every three child victims and, together with women, now account for 70 percent of trafficked persons worldwide.
Today, tomorrow and every day, show your solidarity for and with the victims of human trafficking. Learn about human trafficking and what you can do to give help and hope to trafficking victims.
You can start by reading this viewpoint by Yuri Fedotov, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which appeared in the Astana Times, a newspaper in Kazakhstan, which annually reports high incidences of human trafficking.
We all have a role to play to help end this terrible crime.