Trafficking still one of fastest growing criminal activities globally, says UN expert

Joy Ezeilo, Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children

2 June 2010 – Human trafficking, “one of the most appalling forms of human rights violations,” remains one of the world’s fastest growing criminal activities in the world, an independent United Nations expert said today.

But she stressed that the role of regional organizations in fighting the scourge “cannot be underestimated,” Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, the UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children, told the Geneva-based Human Rights Council, presenting her annual report.

The key to tackling the problem is enhanced coordination among countries of origin, transit and destination, she said, calling for stepped up support for regional and sub-regional groups seeking to catalyze State action to combat trafficking.

With most of these organizations focusing nearly exclusively on the criminalization of traffickers, Ms. Ezeilo called on them to adopt a human rights and victim-centred perspective instead.

“In order to be effective, they should put the rights of the victim at the core of their strategies and actions,” she said. “By doing so, they will succeed both in protecting victims and prosecuting traffickers.”

The Rapporteur, who assumed her position in 2008, underscored to the Council today that “it is only be properly protecting and assisting victims that you can effectively prosecute traffickers.”

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