Julia Ormond's new starring role against human trafficking

Julia OrmondBritish actress and activist Julia Ormond was appointed UNODC Goodwill Ambassador on 2 December 2005, the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery. During her service, Ms. Ormond will focus on anti-human trafficking initiatives, raising awareness about this modern form of slavery and promoting efforts to combat it.

Human trafficking has become one of the most profitable criminal activities worldwide. Like many other crimes, it takes advantage of conflicts, humanitarian disasters and the vulnerability of people in crisis situations.

At a press conference at United Nations Headquarters on the day of her appointment as Goodwill Ambassador, Ms. Ormond stressed the pervasiveness of modern-day slavery and the need to find solutions that are tailored to the local reality.

"Traveling to the countries where human trafficking occurs would take me to every country in the world," she said. "And I think it's clear that the solutions that are working are very specific. They are culturally appropriate."

She stressed the need to listen to victims when searching for ways to combat this crime. We can only respond effectively if we know all sides of the story, she said. Ms. Ormond also commented on the difference between the trade in human beings and illicit drugs. "Drugs can be sold only once," she said, "humans can be sold over and over again." Around the world, millions of men, women and children are exploited for prostitution, forced labour and servitude.

A long-time advocate for human rights issues, Ms. Ormond has advanced social causes both in her individual capacity and as the Co-Founder and Co-Chair of FilmAid International Inc., which seeks to promote health, strengthen communities and enrich the lives of vulnerable people. In September 2005, she worked on anti-human trafficking initiatives with UNODC in Moscow and presented the MTV Russian Music Award to a young activist fighting AIDS. On 1 December, she co-hosted a UNAIDS event to commemorate World AIDS Day in New York City.

Ms. Ormond is well known for her roles in such films as Legends of the Fall, Sabrina and The Barber of Siberia, as well as for her work in television and the theatre.