2.4 million human trafficking victims: UN

According to Fedotov`s Vienna-based office, only one out of 100 victims of trafficking is ever rescued.

United Nations: The UN crime-fighting office
has said that 2.4 million people across the globe are victims
of human trafficking at any one time, and 80 per cent of them
are being exploited as sexual slaves.

Yuri Fedotov, the head of the UN Office on Drugs and
Crime, told a daylong General Assembly meeting on trafficking
yesterday that 17 per cent are trafficked to perform forced
labor, including in homes and sweat shops.

He said USD 32 billion is being earned every year by
unscrupulous criminals running human trafficking networks, and
two out of every three victims are women.

Fighting these criminals "is a challenge of extraordinary
proportions," Fedotov said.

"At any one time, 2.4 million people suffer the misery of
this humiliating and degrading crime," he said.

According to Fedotov`s Vienna-based office, only one out
of 100 victims of trafficking is ever rescued.

Fedotov called for coordinated local, regional and
international responses that balance "progressive and
proactive law enforcement" with actions that combat "the
market forces driving human trafficking in many destination

Michelle Bachelet, who heads the new UN agency promoting
women`s rights and gender equality called UN Women, said "it`s
difficult to think of a crime more hideous and shocking than
human trafficking. Yet, it is one of the fastest growing and
lucrative crimes."

Actress Mira Sorvino, the UN goodwill ambassador against
human trafficking, told the meeting that "modern day slavery
is bested only by the illegal drug trade for profitability,"
but very little money and political will is being spent to
combat trafficking.

"Transnational organised crime groups are adding humans
to their product lists," she said. "Satellites reveal the same
routes moving them as arms and drugs."

Sorvino said there is a lack of strong legislation and
police training to combat trafficking. Even in the United
States "only 10 per cent of police stations have any protocol
to deal with trafficking," she said.

M Cherif Bassiouni, an emeritus law professor at DePaul
University in Chicago, said to applause that "there is no
human rights subject on which governments have said so much
but done so little."

Laws in most of the world criminalise prostitutes and
other victims of trafficking but almost never criminalise the
perpetrators "without whom that crime could not be performed,"
he said.