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UN: Human traffickers make $3bn a year in Europe

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UN: Human traffickers make $3bn a year in Europe

Post  AnnaEsse on Tue 29 Jun - 17:51

CBS News

Traffickers who subject women and children to prostitution and forced
labor are engaged in one of Europe's most lucrative crimes - a ııı2.5
billion a year, modern-day slave trade whose victims are growing by 50
percent annually, a United Nations agency said Tuesday.

The
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimated that more than
140,000 people are currently controlled by organized gangs. Many victims
are tricked into leaving lives of poverty in eastern Europe, Africa and
Latin America with bogus promises of work.

"Europeans believe
that slavery was abolished centuries ago. But look around - slaves are
in our midst," UNODC executive director Antonio Maria Costa said in a
statement accompanying the report.

Costa said one big problem is
that governments in industrialized countries have only recently passed
tougher laws to crack down on trafficking in people.

"It is a
very recent recognition of a very old problem," Costa said later to the
Associated Press, adding that arrests and convictions of traffickers are
rare. "I could count them on one hand."

Worldwide, his agency
estimated several million people have fallen victim to traffickers.

American
actress Mira Sorvino, who serves as a goodwill ambassador for the UN
agency, said she met in Madrid with women who have been rescued from
trafficking gangs in Spain and their stories were heartbreaking.

One
Romanian woman was beaten so badly while being smuggled to Spain that
her ribs were broken. Despite the injury, she still had to service
clients in a roadside brothel while she recovered, Sorvino said.

Another
woman, from Nigeria, was fooled into traveling to Spain with a promise
of work so she could support her daughter back home. After traveling to
Spain in the cargo hold of a ship, and seeing several travel mates die
along the way, the woman learned there was no work waiting for her. She
ended up as a prostitute and was told she had a ııı50,000 debt to pay
off.

People back in Nigeria who had promised to care for her
daughter instead had a chilling new message.

"If you do not pay,
we will kill your daughter," Sorvino quoted the woman as recalling.

And
when the woman called home periodically to speak to her daughter,
traffickers would beat the little girl while the mother listened. As the
Nigerian told her story, Sorvino said, "she cried a little. I cried a
lot."

The UN report said that 51 percent of victims in Europe
come from the Balkan countries or the former Soviet Union, with another
13 percent coming from Latin America, 7 percent from Central Europe and 5
percent from Africa.

AP Madrid

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