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Anti-Human Trafficking Week

ILO calls for more international cooperation to fight human trafficking

Geneva event aims at stepping up the fight against human exploitation.

Press release | 18 October 2013
Greg Vines, ILO Deputy Director-General
GENEVA - Addressing the opening event of Switzerland’s first annual Anti-Human Trafficking Week on October 18th, ILO Deputy Director-General Greg Vines called on UN agencies to work together towards the elimination of all forms of human exploitation.

The event aims at raising the awareness of the international community and the general public on the different types of human exploitation that exist today around the world, such as forced labour, bonded labour and domestic servitude.

“Recognizing our common goal to fighting human trafficking and human exploitation worldwide, the Geneva-based UN agencies must continue to work together in the future to promote better coordination on these important issues and a coherent strategy that brings together our complementary approaches,” Vines said.

“The scale and diverse nature of the problem calls for comprehensive solutions: strict punishment of those who benefit from exploitation must be complemented by strong preventive measures,” he added. Such preventive measures include strengthening labour law, providing access to skills, information and training, as well as improved victim care and compensation.

The launch of the Anti-Trafficking Week has been organized on the request of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs in coordination with the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Organization of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

During the week, a conference, panel discussions, exhibitions and other events will highlight the fact that forced labour is not something that only happens in developing countries. In the European Union alone, about 880,000 people are in forced labour, according to ILO estimates. That’s 1.8 in every 1,000 persons.

Around the world, almost 21 million people are trapped in forced labour – deceived, deprived of their liberty and exploited.