Human trafficking on the rise worldwide, says UN
BEIJING: Human trafficking is on the rise worldwide, with millions of women and children ending up as sex slaves, beggars and mine labourers each year, UN officials said on Tuesday.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, speaking at an Asia-Pacific human rights conference in Beijing, called trafficking in humans horrendous.
“By its very nature, it constitutes an acute violation of human rights, and reports today suggest that more people are being trafficked than ever before,” she said. The International Labour Organisation estimated that more than 2 million people were trafficked worldwide every year, head of the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) said. “No country or region is immune,” UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman said. “Children are forced into prostitution, begging and soliciting, labour on plantations and in mines, markets, factories and domestic work.”
In the Asia-Pacific region, especially in Southeast Asia, the sex trade is a major factor behind smuggling of people. Girls from poor villages in Myanmar, Cambodia, the Philippines and elsewhere are lured into cities or neighbouring countries and end up at massage parlours or karaoke bars, or are flown as far as Australia, Japan, South Africa and the United States to be kept as slaves in brothels. Arbour urged countries in the region to ratify international human rights agreements to combat trafficking.
In China, the world’s most populous country, trafficking of people is a common practice of gangs that have grown alongside government corruption and widespread poverty, academics say. The sale of women and children is a nationwide problem, partly a result of stringent central rules on family planning that allow couples to have only one child.
China’s human rights record is widely criticised, not only for issues related to trafficking, but also for the government’s close grip on the media, harsh methods for maintaining order and repression of religion. reuters