GENEVA, July 27 – More than 20 million people are victims of human trafficking, said the International Labour Organization on Friday as it launched an awareness campaign coinciding with the London Olympics.
In the campaign, the ILO has set up brightly coloured large walk-in ‘gift boxes’ that promise passers-by a better life, only to reveal images on the realities of human trafficking in black and white on the inside.
The boxes’ interiors display victims’ faces and their stories, as well as information about human trafficking provided by the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT).
“Every minute of every hour of every day, men, women and children are forced to travel around the world to make gold for someone else: they have been trafficked,” the group said.
The ILO said that every day around three out of every 1,000 people worldwide are in forced labour.
Of the victims, 90 percent are exploited by individuals and businesses, while 10 per cent are forced to work by the state, by rebel military groups or in prisons, it added.
Sexual exploitation accounts for 22 per cent of victims and labour exploitation makes up 68 per cent, it said.
“The successful prosecution of individuals who bring such misery to so many remains inadequate — this needs to change,” said Beate Andrees, head of the ILO’s Special Action Programme to Combat Forced Labour.
“We must ensure that the number of victims does not rise during the current economic crisis where people are increasingly vulnerable to these abusive practices.”