Human trafficking thriving
Geneva - Human trafficking currently ranks among the world's most thriving criminal activities with an estimated 2.5 million victims "at any given time", a new United Nations report said on Thursday.
"The world today is confronted with a huge human trafficking problem, driven by the same forces that drive the globalisation of markets, as there is no lack of demand and supply," special rapporteur Joy Ngozi Ezeilo wrote in the study for the UN Human Rights Council.
"In varying degrees and circumstances, men, women and children all over the world are victims of what has become a modern day slave trade," Ngozi Ezeilo wrote.
About 1.2 million of the total number of are children, she said, citing estimates by the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef).
Women are other likely victims - and those trafficked are often at the bottom of the economic ladder, with the flow of trafficked people generally going from developing to rich nations, the report said.
"According to the United States Department of State Trafficking in Presons Report 2007, every year about 800 000 women and children are trafficked across national borders, which does not include the millions trafficked in their own countries."
Trafficking of men for forced labour, while attracting little attention so far, "is also becoming rampant", the report said.
While quality data is scarce, there is little doubt that human trafficking is highly profitable with no lack of demand or supply, according to the report.
"Economically speaking, trafficking in persons has become a global business, reaping huge profits for traffickers and organised crime syndicates, generating massive human rights violations and causing serious problems for governments," it said.
Among other uses, humans are trafficked for marriage, adoption, prostitution or other types of sexual exploitation, for forced labour or for their organs and other body parts, it said.