Ivete Sangalo reaffirms promise at UN event to help put an end to trafficking in persons in Brazil


Ivete Sangalo and Rafael Franzini, UNODC

Rio de Janeiro, 31 July, 2015 - As part of the initiatives for the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, celebrated on 30 July, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) called upon the media this Friday (the 31st) to expose the reality of millions of people who fall victim to human trafficking and to showcase the renewed promise by singer Ivete Sangalo to put an end to this practice in Brazil.

From 2010 to 2012, victims from 152 different nationalities were found in 124 countries. The dimension of this number, nevertheless, barely represents the tip of the iceberg, since it only illustrates the official data of those victims who were able to regain their liberty. The magnitude of the problem still remains unknown, with millions of men, women, and children missing from this statistic and living in captivity as child-soldiers, beggars, prostitutes, or forced laborers.

At the Palácio do Itamaraty event in Rio de Janeiro, Ivete Sangalo affirmed that she feels she can be of use in defending this promise. The Goodwill Ambassador for the Blue Heart Campaign against Trafficking in Persons has been performing this role since 2013, using her talent and fame to the advantage of the cause.

"I feel so honored, and more than anything, useful. I'm happy to be able to use my talent to benefit this very relevant work," affirmed Ivete. "There will come a time when my work as ambassador will no longer be necessary. But until then, for as long as I exist, as long as it is necessary, I will defend the liberty of the human spirit."

As Ambassador, Ivete acts as the campaign spokesperson, raising the flag at her shows, blogs, and other appearances. The UNODC Blue Heart Campaign against the Trafficking of Persons was implemented in Brazil in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice with the institutional support of the Globo Group. The objective of the campaign is to raise awareness about this crime and underline the mechanisms of denouncement, fundamental for the investigation and closing of cases.

"The crime exists not only in the moment that a person is put into slavery, but from the moment that she is accosted," explains Ivete. "A huge machinery exists behind this practice and is prepared to convince anyone that their dream can be achieved," she added, reiterating the important role that opinion leaders have in informing and dissuading people to follow this path.

Unacceptable crime


Teresa Cosentino, Aparecida Gonçalves, Ivete Sangalo, Rafael Franzini, Eduardo Cardozo and Beto Vasconcelos

Women and children make up the main victims of human trafficking and represent 70% of people trafficked in the world. The number of children who fall victim to trafficking has likewise risen 5% compared to the 2007-2010 period, accounting for 33% of the total. And despite the international nature of the network,  the danger lies close to home, with more than 64% of traffickers being from the same country as their victims.

At that time, Justice Minister José Eduardo Cardozo affirmed that there is no reason that human trafficking should exist in the 21st century. It is an "unacceptable" crime, and it invokes profound disgust to "turn humans into objects," he added. In his speech, the Minister emphasized that all efforts must be joined together to ensure that this not become the "perfect crime" where perpetrators believe that they will never be punished. 

Despite the progress made within the realm of the government to combat this crime, much more must be done, Carodozo admits. In the meantime, we must rely on society's collaboration to put an end to fear and denounce this practice so that "we may take attack this crime head-on and fulfill our role by punishing harshly and reprimanding rigorously."

UNODC representative Rafael Franzini recalled the different actions undertaken during this week to raise awareness about the trafficking of persons in the country, including the launching of the Ministry of Justice's report on the topic with data from 2013 and the illumination of various public monuments and cities with the campaign's blue color.

"Detecting this crime is very difficult. Difficult for the police, for justice, and for the actual citizens, which many times are subject to deception and add to the frightening statistics of the problem," said Franzini. "We need every resource in order to expose the deceit and uncover this crime and the criminals behind it. Society, the private sector, the media play a fundamental role in this confrontation, be it exchanging experiences, be it denouncing cases. But we have to help so that this can take place," he said.

The event was also attended by the Minister of Interim State of Policies for Women, Aparecida Gonçalves, the secretary of State Social Assistance and Human Rights of Rio de Janeiro, Teresa Cosentino, the national secretary of Justice, Beto Vasconcellos, and the director of the UN Information Center (UNIC Rio), Giancarlo Summa.

The final message was clear to all: traffickers must not be tolerated. Today, impunity against perpetrators of this crime has risen.  Of the cases analyzed, 40% of countries reported having less than 10 convictions between 2010 and 2013, and another 15% had no sentencing of this kind.

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Blue Heart Campaign

Source: ONU Brazil

We thank our UN Online Volunteer, Aaron Kircher, for his contribution to the translation of this article. Aaron, is an online volunteer mobilized through  www.onlinevolunteering.org

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