Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Stopping Traffic

Tomorrow (Wednesday, February 13) the United Nations will hold the first ever global forum on human trafficking in Vienna, Austria. The forum will cover a wide array of topics that fall under this subject heading ranging from forced labor and sexual exploitation to the removal of organs and other body parts.

The three-day conference, which runs through Friday, will bring together 1,200 experts, legislators, law enforcement teams, business leaders, NGO representatives and trafficking victims from 116 countries.

UNODC chief Costa said that "a lack of information and a disjointed response have enabled human trafficking to flourish."He said it was one of the fastest-growing crimes and had many forms, "always in collusion with other unlawful activities like illegal migration, forced labor, pedophilia, child exploitation, civil conflicts and organized prostitution."

"It's time for the world to open its eyes to this modern form of slavery," Costa said.

Workshops will be held on a wide range of topics, from forced labor and sexual exploitation to the trafficking in persons for the removal of organs and body parts.

Although it is incredibly difficult to collect data, according to UN estimates, about 2.5 million people from 127 countries have been trafficked to 137 countries for purposes such as forced labor, sexual exploitation, the removal of organs and body parts, forced marriages, child adoption and begging.

Among those scheduled to attend the conference is pop star Ricky Martin and Suzanne Mubarak, the wife of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.