UN Proposes a Global Fund to Fight Trafficking
Friday, April 13, 2007 12:27 PM

Noting a continued rise in incidences of human trafficking, the UN called for a global fund to fight trafficking and forced labor. Because the number of human trafficking victims is often underreported, estimates range from 800,000 to 12.3 million. Of those trafficked, about 80 percent are women and girls, most of whom end up in the sex trade.

There is a growing awareness of the severity of trafficking and its massive costs, both fiscal and human. Human trafficking is believed to be a $30 to $40 billion business, often linked to organized crime. Victims usually come from impoverished areas, lured by the promise of work. While some are paid, wages are so low that victims are dependent on their traffickers for many basic needs and unable to escape their indentured situations. One hundred seventeen countries have signed the UN Trafficking Protocol since it was introduced in 2003, but the weak law enforcement, coupled with difficulty in identification, make the protocol difficult to enforce.

Compiled from: UN Fund to Combat Human Trafficking, Elisabeth Rosenthal, International Herald Tribune: Europe, 26 March 2007.