Director General/Executive Director
Remarks at Gala Event in support of the United Nations Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking
Vienna, 5 November 2013
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Thank you Mr. Rahimi for your long-standing dedication to this cause, and for sponsoring this event.
I would like to give special thanks to our guest of honour, Mr. Nicholas Cage, for taking the time out of his busy schedule to be with us tonight. Your efforts to help raise awareness of this terrible crime are invaluable.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for coming tonight and joining us in our fight against modern slavery.
All proceeds from this event will go the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.
This Trust Fund was established in July 2010 to support organizations directly assisting victims of human trafficking. It is funded solely by voluntary contributions from Governments, the business community and people of goodwill like yourselves.
I thank you for your contributions. If all business leaders, public figures and citizens were as concerned and willing to devote their time and resources to fighting human trafficking, we could surely defeat the criminals and stop them from exploiting millions of vulnerable women, men and children.
But the truth is, we are far from winning this fight.
Human trafficking affects everyone, in every country. Victims are trafficked for sexual exploitation and forced labour. They are coerced into participating in armed combat and in crimes. They are trafficked for begging, for forced marriages and for the removal of their organs.
A recent report by UNODC found that 27% of all victims detected globally are children. Of every three child victims, two are girls and one is a boy.
But of the 132 countries covered by UNODC's global report, more than one-third did not report a single conviction of a trafficker between 2007 and 2010. This shows how much more work needs to be done.
UNODC works to help Member States implement the United Nations Trafficking in Persons Protocol. This means going after the criminals. But it also means helping to prevent vulnerable people from falling prey to traffickers, and protecting those who have been trafficked and ensuring that they can rebuild their lives.
And we have achieved progress, as we must, with greater levels of practical action to match strong words. In 2003 approximately 50 countries had specific legislation to combat human trafficking. Today, that figure nears 140. The resulting national laws give rights to victims, and create offences with which to prosecute their traffickers.
But what of those who need our help now? Since 2010, 1.5 million dollars have been contributed to the Trust Fund. Thanks to this money, 11 grass-roots organizations around the world have been able to support victims and survivors of trafficking, especially women and children, with sustainable multi-year programmes.
Due to the Fund's limited resources, however, 300 other organizations applying to the Trust Fund could not be supported. Of the millions of people most likely trafficked globally, only thousands are officially recognized - at present, it is only hundreds who are assisted by our outreach. Good work has been done but not nearly as much as is needed.
We need to do more. We need to join forces - the UN, governments, NGOs, the private sector, community leaders and ordinary citizens, to stop this terrible crime. We have a shared responsibility to end this cruel exploitation and abuse of human rights.
Every contribution matters. Your share could help many more victims receive the humanitarian, financial and legal aid they need and deserve.