Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, observed on 30 July:
Around the world, criminals are selling people for profit. Vulnerable women and girls form the majority of human trafficking victims, including those driven into degrading sexual exploitation.
Trafficked persons are often tricked into servitude with the false promise of a well-paid job. Migrants crossing deadly seas and burning deserts to escape conflict, poverty and persecution are also at risk of being trafficked. Individuals can find themselves alone in a foreign land where they have been stripped of their passports, forced into debt and exploited for labour. Children and young people can find their lives stolen, their education blocked and their dreams dashed. It is an assault on their most basic human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Criminal trafficking networks thrive in countries where the rule of law is weak and international cooperation is difficult. I call on all countries to fight money-laundering and sign and ratify the United Nations conventions against corruption and transnational organized crime, including the latter’s human trafficking protocol.
We must also provide meaningful assistance to those in need, including protection and access to justice and remedies. I applaud the donors who have enabled the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons Fund to assist thousands of people. At the same time, I urge greater contributions to help the many million other victims of this crime move forward with their lives.
Every country must join together to overcome this transnational threat by supporting and protecting victims while pursuing and prosecuting the criminals. On the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, let us resolve to act as one in the name of justice and dignity for all.