F A C T   F I L E:

Every year 2 million girls aged between 5 and 15 are coerced, abducted, sold or trafficked into the illegal sex market.

UN figures suggest that between 200-300,000 women are trafficked to Europe every year.

Well over $7 billion a year is generated from sex trade trafficking.

Current global figures indicate 200 million people are held in various forms of slavery.

Some four million people are trafficked globally today: 4% of all the world’s migrants.

Two million children every year become victims of paedophiles and their networks as global demand for child pornography and child prostitution escalates.



All of us – young and old, rich and poor, governments and civil society alike – must take action to stop trafficking. The global community is becoming increasingly aware that trafficking of persons is the fastest growing and third largest criminal activity in the world.

According to UN statistics, the vast majority of victims of traffickers are women and children. Every year, millions of women and girls are lured, abducted, sold or coerced into forced prostitution and bonded labour. The cost of communications is now so low that millions travel around the world in search of sex.  Prostitution, which used to be limited by tradition and custom, has become a global market – as has pornography.

“It is the world's biggest violation of human rights,” according to Pino Arlacchi, executive director of the UN Drug Control Program. Trafficking in the 21st Century has become a global phenomenon and provides a transnational challenge: it is a criminal activity, a human rights abuse and an economic empowerment and social justice issue.

Anti-trafficking strategies require a multifaceted and multilateral approach. Governments have realised that they cannot combat such a complex challenge alone and this has led to the establishment of a new UN Convention. Signed in Palermo in December 2000 by more than 120 nations, the Convention on Transnational Organised Crime marks a significant step forward in international cooperation on the rule of law and combating global crime.

The Convention has three attached Protocols, one of which specifically relates to trafficking of women and children.  The basic purpose of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons is to "prevent and combat" trafficking in persons and facilitate international co-operation against such trafficking.

Although the British government has signed the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organised Crime and its three attached Protocols and there is increasing awareness of the phenomenon of trafficking, there has not yet been any UK-wide mechanism to facilitate the broad cooperation of all parties.  The United Nations and the European Parliament have repeatedly stressed the indispensable role of non-governmental organisations and individuals in combating violence in all its forms and encouraged their increased involvement.

Following the success of its initiative in establishing a Georgian Anti-Trafficking Network Platform, WomenAid has now established a UK Anti-Trafficking Network Platform (UKAT) to facilitate the development of appropriate strategies and action in Britain.

We cannot build a strong civil society without working together and creating associations and networks that enable us to make progress on the issues we care about or are threatened by. The growth of trafficking threatens national and global communities and collaboration is essential at all levels.



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