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For World Day Against Trafficking in person Wednesday 30 July 2014

“Human Trafficking: take action, break the chain” – UN rights expert

GENEVA (25 July 2014) – Marking the first-ever World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, the UN Special Rapporteur on human trafficking, especially women and children, Ms. Joy Ezeilo, calls on States, non-State actors and all individuals of the human family to stand up against what is now a multi-million dollar global business.

“Human beings, just like you and me, are trafficked every day for economic purposes, sexual exploitation or for removal of their organs. This heinous business must stop,” says the Special Rapporteur.

“In the course of the last six years, I have come face to face with thousands of women, girls, men and boys either victims and survivors of trafficking. There is no foregone conclusion in their suffering. It is up to us all to restore their rights and dignity,” stresses Ms. Ezeilo, whose tenure as Special Rapporteur ends on 31 July 2014.

“I urge States to ratify the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons. It’s the minimum action any government can take to become part of the global movement to free the world from trafficking. I also expect governments to have appropriate legislative frameworks and mechanisms at national level to combat the phenomenon and provide effective remedies to trafficked persons,” she continues.

“If you are a corporation or a business, take action to ensure that your supply chain is free of human trafficking and that no one is held in forced labour. If you’re an individual, buy responsibly and avoid becoming part of the human trafficking chain. We must break the chain of human trafficking, this is my message to us all today,” says the Special Rapporteur.

“This is a unique opportunity not only to re-affirm the political and economic will to fight against this heinous crime, but also to take firm actions towards its eradication. It’s a day to give the victims back their dignity - a basic and fundamental human right,” says the Special Rapporteur.

Ms. Ezeilo recently launched a publication to reflect on the work and impact of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, which was created ten years ago, in 2004. The study highlights the major areas of focus and main achievements of the mandate, its contribution to key conceptual and legal gains, and challenges encountered over the decade.

“My work is far from being over,” she said. “Much more needs to be done in the global efforts to fight trafficking in persons to ensure every human held in slavery sees his/her dignity and rights restored.”

ENDS

(*) Check the Special Rapporteur’s report: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Trafficking/FirsDecadeSRon_%20trafficking.pdf

Joy Ngozi Ezeilo (Nigeria) started her mandate as Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially in women and children in August 2008. Ms. Ezeilo is a human rights lawyer and professor at the University of Nigeria. She has served in various governmental capacities and consulted for various international organizations, and is currently 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. Ms. Ezeilo was conferred with a national honour (Officer of the Order of Nigeria) in 2006 for her work as a human right defender. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Trafficking/Pages/TraffickingIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact Selma Vadala (+41 22 917 9108 / svadala@ohchr.org), or write to srtrafficking@ohchr.org)

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