Vienna, 5 November 2013 - Nicolas Cage, Oscar-winning actor, film-maker and Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), today lent his support to international efforts to assist victims of human trafficking. Attending an event in the Austrian capital of Vienna, he called for greater attention to the issue, while helping to raise private sector funds for victims. A highlight of the evening was the auction of a specially designed "Blue Heart" carpet - an international symbol increasingly being adopted by Governments, civil society, the private sector and individuals in the fight against this scourge. Proceeds from the event will go the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, which supports grass-roots organizations that rescue, shelter and reintegrate victims into society.
"As a global society, we cannot tolerate people being bought and sold as commodities. We cannot fight for a better planet and for the rights of all its beings while we allow our own species to trick, abuse and brutally exploit each other for profit. We cannot stand quietly on the sidelines, while humans are being shipped and traded across the globe", Mr. Cage stated.
"A person stripped of their documents, their rights and their dignity needs specialized help. They need to rebuild their lives brick by brick. Your contribution tonight can provide vital help to these victims", Mr. Cage appealed.
UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov said, "Since 2010, $1.5 million 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."
"But 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," urged the UNODC chief.
Mr. Cage has starred in some 70 major motion pictures. His performance in Leaving Las Vegas earned him the Oscar for Best Actor in 1995, followed in 2002 by a second nomination for his dual roles in Adaptation. He has received a Golden Globe Award, two MTV Movie Awards and a Screen Actors Guild Award, among others, and has been honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The gala event was organized and hosted by Mr. Ali Rahimi, a prominent Austrian businessman and philanthropist, under the auspices of UNODC. Mr. Rahimi also donated the Blue Heart carpet for auction.
Human trafficking affects every country in the world. Victims are trafficked for sexual exploitation and forced labour. A recent UNODC report found that women and girls make up 75 per cent of detected victims, with girls constituting two out of every three child victims.
While in Vienna, Mr. Cage renewed his appointment made in 2010 as UNODC Goodwill Ambassador for Global Justice, saying it was a title and position he was "very proud to hold. Of all the experiences I have had in my life this has been the most humbling and challenging of responsibilities."
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