Remarks at the World Premiere of the film: Trade of Innocents
29 September 2012
Mr. Bolthouse ,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The film you are about to see tells the harrowing story of children forced into sexual exploitation.
Trade of Innocents is about an appalling form of abuse-one that strips people of their dignity and deprives them of their human rights.
Its name is human trafficking.
The films shows people traded as a commodity, like coffee or gold. Bought and sold for profit and for the gratification of others.
No country is untouched by this modern day slavery-people are trafficked all over the world. Some are sexually exploited, others suffer forced labour or domestic servitude.
Many could be in houses, cafes and factories near you.
Globally, one in five victims of human trafficking is a child.
In the Mekong region of South East Asia children form the majority of victims.
South East Asia is also a popular tourist destination. Awareness of the impact of tourism on human trafficking is growing and countries are responding.
India has adopted a code of conduct to deliver safe, honourable and sustainable tourism, including anti-human trafficking practices.
My office is working with partners to assist Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Viet Nam, to counter the sexual exploitation of children in the Greater Mekong sub-region.
We are helping to build the capacity of local law enforcement to identify, arrest and prosecute travelling child sex offenders in those countries.
But, if we are to succeed, we must continue to explain to businesses and to travelers the damaging effects of human trafficking.
UNODC is assisting countries to implement the trafficking protocol of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
So far the protocol has been ratified by 152 countries but some are struggling to implement it effectively.
We are also raising public awareness through our Blue Heart campaign and through the work of the Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I hope this film will shock people. What is on the screen is not fiction, it is fact. A harsh reality for millions of people across the world.
A story of stolen innocence and robbed childhood. We cannot recover that innocence, we cannot return that childhood.
But, we can strive with everything we possess to prevent it from happening to the next child, and the next, and the next.
What is suffered by the parent must never be visited upon the child. The chain of misery must be broken.
Help us by joining the Blue Heart campaign to end this modern day slavery or by contributing to the Trust Fund.