Partnership for Global Justice March Alert, 2009
March 8 is International Women’s Day, and the 53rd Commission on the Status of Women meets at UN HQ in New York March 2 – 13.
When we contemplate the status of women around the world, one area of grave concern is the growth in human trafficking in recent years. Human trafficking means forced use of human persons as a form of commerce, whether as slave labor or for sexual exploitation. Victims of sexual exploitation are predominantly women and girls, but trafficking is connected to economic, political and social forces that increase the vulnerability and desperation of the poor, of refugees and immigrants. Women and children are the most vulnerable.
We must join the UN’s call for more to be done to reduce the vulnerability of victims of trafficking, to increase the risks to traffickers, and to lower demand for the goods and services of modern-day slaves.
Please send a message to the major government representatives at the Commission on the Status of Women who are members of the Bureau and your own government’s representative:
- H.E. Mr. Olivier Belle (Belgium), Chairperson
- Mr. Ara Margarian (Armenia), Vice Chairperson
- Ms. Enna Park (Republic of Korea), Vice Chairperson
- Mr. Julio Peralta (Paraguay), Vice Chairperson
- Ms. Cécile Mballa Eyenga ( African Group), Vice Chairperson
We join the call for a greater response to the shameful increase in human trafficking around the world. Women and children are most often the victims of human trafficking, and too little is done to protect those vulnerable to exploitation, to increase the risks to traffickers and to lower the demand for persons traded as commodities.
- Human trafficking is a $10 billion+ growth industry with conservative estimates ranging from 700,000 to 2 million people – primarily women and children – trafficked into prostitution and slavery annually.
- Human trafficking is the third largest criminal business worldwide, after trafficking in drugs and weapons.
- For traffickers it has been a high profit, low risk enterprise. Laws against trafficking in persons do not exist or are not enforced in many countries.
- The most common form of human trafficking (79%) is sexual exploitation. The victims of sexual exploitation are predominantly women and girls.
- In 30% of the countries which provide information on the gender of traffickers, women make up the largest proportion of traffickers. In some parts of the world, women trafficking women is the norm.
- Worldwide, almost 20% of all trafficking victims are children. However, in some parts of Africa and the Mekong region, children are the majority (up to 100% in parts of West Africa).
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