13.02.2008, Source: Tanjug
Vienna, 13.02.2008. (Tanjug) – Human trafficking is one of the most serious violations of fundamental human rights, said Austrian Federal Minister Ursula Plassnik today in Vienna, at the opening statement of “Vienna forum against human trafficking”.
“Human trafficking has many cruel faces. It is one of the most serious violations of fundamental human rights and human dignity. In the 21st century, we can not tolerate human beings to be bought, sold and hired like commodities. Human trafficking does not respect borders, and it affects countries of origin, transit counties and countries of destination alike” said Plassnik opening the three day forum in the Vienna UN headquarters.
According to her, every year 2.7 million people become victims of trafficking. After illegal weapon trafficking and drug trafficking, human trafficking has become the third of most profit sources of income for organized crime, and their victims are the most vulnerable members of our society – women and children.
Plassnik said that any strategy for combating human trafficking must focus on prevention, protection of victims and prosecution pf perpetrators.
“We need to work on two levels – raising public awareness on this terrible crime. Human trafficking has to be exposed publicly as a modern type of slavery and we need the political will to take the necessary step in combating human trafficking”, she explained.
“No country is immune against human trafficking and Austria is affected as country of transit and country of destination. Austria has National Action Plan on the national level, set National Task Force as an instrument to bring together representatives from different Ministries and non governmental organizations”, said Plassnik.
In order to be more effective outside of Austria they are supporting through Austrian Development Agency, as she said, projects to fight human trafficking with the focus on the Western Balkans.
Firs lady of Egypt, H.E. Suzanne Mubarak, said that human trafficking is global phenomenon, which undermines security.
“This is a modern form of slavery. The statistics paint an alarming picture. I was shocked when I first heard that that an estimated three million people are lost every year in this criminal industry”, she said.
“Human trafficking is considered to be a low-risk and lucrative criminal enterprise, with an annual profit of over 32 billion USD. Human trafficking affects are all and each of our countries. We have to build up laws and institutions to fight against this form of crime”, said Mubarak.
In Vienna congers hall “Austria Center” over 1000 participants from over 100 countries will discuss on ways and possibilities for combating human trafficking.
“Vienna forum” participants will talk also about measures to prevent human trafficking and prosecuting perpetrators.
This forum has no political characteristics, as there will not be brought any of political documents, but it has an important task because it gives the opportunity to exchange experiences, as well as to establish stronger international cooperation.