Human trafficking a $10b industry

Agence France Presse

Manila, April 4:

Human trafficking is beginning to rival the drugs and arms trades raking in an estimated $10 billion in revenues for crime gangs every year, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said today.

Governments around the world, with the help of legislators, should enact more laws and enforce them in a bid to reverse the trend, UNICEF’s executive director Carol Bellamy said on the sidelines of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) meeting in Manila. Bellamy attended the conference to provide IPU delegates with a handbook that would help them in their legislative efforts to counter human trafficking, particularly of children and women.

She said statistics of how many children are being smuggled across borders were not available “because this is an issue that is so often not recognized and hidden even though it is actually going on.” However, she said “this is a $10 billion plus criminal business around the world,” by UNICEF estimates.

While there have been some inroads in countries like the Philippines which has passed a law against human trafficking, Bellamy said “we don’t think that any government has done all that it could do.”

She urged all governments to cooperate to combat human trafficking and called on legislators attending the IPU meet to pass laws against it.

“Parliamentarians have a choice,” Bellamy said, “They can make decisions that ensure the protection of children, or they can make decisions that leave children vulnerable to being exploited and abused.”