NEW YORK / UN (23 October 2009) -- “If you are lured to another country with the promise of a good job and a better life, but instead forced into prostitution or forced labour; if you have to keep silent about this because you or your family back home is being threatened; no doubt you are a victim of human trafficking,” said Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, presenting her report* to the United Nations General Assembly.
“And in the middle of the current global economic crisis, chances are that someone next to you is or may become a victim of human trafficking, risking their lives far away from home in sheer desperation and the quest for human security, survival and development,” warned the UN independent expert.
“Voices of the victims are silenced and their stories remain untold, in the absence of an adequate framework for identification and protection of, and assistance to victims of human trafficking,” said Ms Ezeilo.
Stressing the importance of such a framework, the Special Rapporteur noted that “it is crucial that States focus their attention on strengthening the national legal framework for identification and protection of, and assistance to victims, as well as on building capacity of relevant law enforcement officials through institutionalized training.”
Highlighting that no country is immune from the risk of human trafficking, the UN independent expert also reiterated the importance of international cooperation in fighting the global phenomenon of human trafficking and protecting the human rights of trafficked victims: “Bilateral and regional guidelines and procedures should be developed by States to facilitate cooperation between Governments and stakeholders, including international organizations, in the identification and provision of direct assistance”.
The Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, is presenting her annual report to the General Assembly on 23 October 2009.
Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, a Nigerian national, assumed her functions as Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially in women and children on 1 August 2008. Ms. Ezeilo is a human rights lawyer and professor at the University of Nigeria. She has also served in various governmental capacities, including as Honourable Commissioner for Ministry of Women Affairs & Social Development in Enugu State and as a Delegate to the National Political Reform Conference. She has consulted for various international organizations and is also involved in several NGOs, particularly working on women’s rights. She has published extensively on a variety of topics, including human rights, women’s rights, and Sharia law.