Academy Award-winning actress Mira Sorvino is no stranger to the issues surrounding human trafficking. She has been the U.N. goodwill amabassador against human trafficking since 2009 and has been quite vocal about her thoughts on the issue.
On Tuesday she told the United Nations General Assembly meeting that “modern day slavery is bested only by the illegal drug trade for profitability.” The actress explained that very little money and very little political will was being spent to combat trafficking.
In her remarks to the General Assembly she called for strong legislation and more police training to combat human trafficking. She said in the United States “only 10 percent of the police station have any protocol to deal with trafficking.”
Laws in many countries do not criminalize the perpetrators of trafficking but instead criminalize the victims who have been trafficked. Sex slaves, or those forced into the sex industry from human trafficking, are often victims more than once because they are the ones who are picked up by police and prosecuted for selling sex.
Human trafficking seems to be an issue that no one really wants to address. People are willing to talk about the subject but what is really being done? DePaul University law professor, M. Cherif Massioni, put it bluntly, “there is no human rights subject on which governments have said so much but done so little.”
The statistics are startling. 2.4 million people across the globe are victims of human trafficking at any one time. The majority, 80 percent, of these victims are exploited as sex slaves. Seventeen percent of victims are trafficked to perform forced labor in sweat shops or homes, according to Yuri Fedotov, head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime.
Approximately one out of ever 100 victims of trafficking is rescued. The countries that talk about the issue need to address it with legislation, money and political will. It will take more than talking to increase the rescue numbers and it will take a lot of money to bring down the $32 billion dollar industry created by human traffickers.
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