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UNODC Goodwill Ambassador and Thai anti-human trafficking champion tell of UN small grant opportunity for NGOs

Bangkok (Thailand), 14 April 2011
- Across the world, an estimated 2.5 million men, women, and children are trapped in slave-like conditions. Through sexual exploitation, forced labour, domestic servitude and child begging, people in all corners of the globe are held against their will through this horrific crime. A staggering 1.4 million victims, or 56 per cent of the estimated global number, are in Asia and the Pacific.

Responding to the need to support the frontline organizations working to assist survivors of this terrible crime, the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking has been established. Managed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Trust Fund has mobilized close to US$ 1 million so far, to be distributed over the coming months through the Small Grant Facility to the grassroots organizations helping those most affected by human trafficking.

Speaking at a Press Briefing on the role of the Trust Fund, Dr. Saisuree Chutikul, Thailand's former Chair of the National Sub-Committee on Combating Trafficking in Women and Children and Board Member Trustee, said: "The cruelty of human trafficking is such that victims' needs are often very diverse, and technical, financial and human resources are often lacking. Added to this, in many instances the State cannot provide victims with adequate support. Civil society and the NGO sector are key players as they understand on-the-ground realities. The Small Grants Facility aims to strengthen assistance to survivors of this brutal crime by supporting frontline services."

The Press Briefing was also addressed by UNODC Goodwill Ambassador and Academy Award-winning actress Mira Sorvino. A global advocate for the rights of victims of human trafficking, Ms. Sorvino called for a renewed stance in beating this crime: "Human trafficking affects societies most marginalized members - those millions of people who look to better their conditions and are regrettably trapped and exploited by criminals. I am proud to be associated with the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking and I believe that it is a real tool to assist those organizations working at the fore of assisting survivors of trafficking".