New Agreement to Fight Human Trafficking
April 17, 2012
It's estimated tens of millions of people may be the victims of modern-day
human trafficking. On Tuesday, the International Organization for Migration
and the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime pledged closer cooperation to tackle
The two agencies have signed an agreement in Vienna to ensure national
borders are better managed in what they call an" integrated, modern and
De Capua report on human trafficking
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"We can quote several sources, but there is no concrete and accurate
information. It is believed that there are between 12 and 27 million victims
of trafficking. This is really something due to the fact that there are no
worldwide mechanisms in place to detect appropriately victims of
trafficking," said Laurence Hart is the head of the migrant assistance
division of the International Organization for Migration.
The International Labor Organization estimates human trafficking and migrant
smuggling is a $32 billion a year industry.
"The idea of a trafficked person used to be basically a stereotype of a
woman that was brought into prostitution. Now the profile of a trafficked
person is becoming more and more expanded because nowadays we have an
increasing number of men, who are trafficked for labor purposes," he said.
For example, many trafficked men from Asia find themselves in the fishing
sector in Africa. Many African women have been trafficked to Asia.
Men, women and children may be abducted or lured into trafficking with the
promise of a better life.
Hart said, "Often times what happens is that the person, to have specific
work, a specific job, has to pay an intermediary. And the intermediary is
asking for some money for that and the person does not necessarily have that
money. So he says, 'I will pay you back.' Then that becomes a bond because
that debt (is) never paid back or because that debt seems to be
Prior to the new agreement, the IOM and the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime
already worked closely in many parts of Africa, as well as Colombia in South
"Basically, our cooperation with UNODC is related to capacity building. So,
how to strengthen existing referral mechanisms, shelters and training of,
for example, the judiciary, the law enforcement and the civil society which
are involved in the counter trafficking," he said.
IOM also offers direct assistance to trafficking victims to help them return
Consumer goods from forced labor?
Hart said trafficking victims may be forced to manufacture consumer goods.
But the companies they work for are often not aware of this.
"We're finding increasingly a number of companies who are asking us how can
we make better traceability in our supply chain and make sure that what we
sell, what we produce, is not the result in any way of people who are
victims of trafficking," he said.
The new agreement also calls for greater response to the problem at the
local, regional and international levels. It also aims to increase
cooperation with other agencies, including the Global Migration Group and
the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons.
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Received on Tue Apr 17 2012 - 13:57:03 EDT