- Title: MEXICO: Launch of anti-human trafficking campaign
- Date: 16th April 2010
- Summary: HEAD OF THE UNITED NATIONS OFFICE ON DRUGS AND CRIME, ANTONIO MARIA COSTA BEING INTERVIEWED (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF THE UNITED NATIONS OFFICE ON DRUGS AND CRIME, ANTONIO MARIA COSTA, SAYING: "As I said human trafficking is a very profitable line of activity in terms of revenue generated. The usual jargon one uses, the expression one uses is that you can sell drugs once but you can sell a woman's body over and over again. It becomes extremely profitable in this sense." NEWS CONFERENCE WITH MEXICAN PRESIDENT FELIPE CALDERON TO PRESENT CAMPAIGN AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING COSTA AND CALDERON DURING NEWS CONFERENCE ATTENDEES MORE OF NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) MEXICAN PRESIDENT FELIPE CALDERON, SAYING: "Human trafficking is another reason to combat organized crime with determination because people who are smuggled like objects are demanding our help, our courage. Not our cowardice. Not our diligence. Not our fear and they are within their rights to so do." CALDERON AND COSTA SHAKING HANDS
- Embargoed: 1st May 2010 13:00
- Location: Mexico
- Country: Mexico
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement
- Reuters ID: LVACFI4T9SYAPKD0CHHT1F7SZWRO
- Story Text: Mexico launched a "Blue Heart" campaign to fight against human trafficking on Wednesday (April 14).
According to the UN, more than 130 countries have reported cases of human trafficking.
Traffickers usually prey on vulnerable victims and force them into exploitation.
One such victim is twenty-one-year-old Susana who escaped from home at the tender age of five after her stepfather sexually abused her. She ended up living at a government-run orphanage but escaped when she was 13. After living on the streets she met a boy and fell pregnant. The baby's father soon abandoned her. She was then forced to live on the streets until she met a woman who offered her accommodation if she agreed to look after her children. Everything seemed to work out fine, until the woman forced her to go into prostitution.
"At night she told me: 'Let's go to work but I'll tell you where and I said ok.' I was thirteen-years-old and was also pregnant. I told her I accepted and she started getting me ready to go out, to put make-up on, she cut my hair and dyed it on that occasion and then she took me to the bar. I walked into another world. I had never gone into a bar. I had just left an institution where sexuality had never been mentioned. I walked into a bar and as I looked around she told me: 'You have to allow them to touch you, you have to drink, you're going to have sex, you're going to charge so much.'"
Susana, who is now taking refuge in a shelter for human trafficking victims in Mexico City, said all the money she earned was taken away from her.
Her first daughter was born when she was just 14 years-old and she eventually managed to escape from her captor after seven-years.
After escaping, she was raped again and her second daughter is now six-months-old and lives with her. She hopes to be reunited with her first daughter, who was taken to an orphanage soon after being born and hopes to continue her studies.
"Sometimes when I was with clients, I felt dead, I didn't feel anything. I became used to it. It's disgusting to be with clients, to smell them, to put up with them because they sometimes hit you," she said.
Developed with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the campaign intends to create awareness about the phenomenon that exploits millions of people around the world and to prevent more people from becoming victims.
The Head of UNODC, Antonio Maria Costa, said human trafficking was the most lucrative form of illegal activity after drug and arms trafficking.
"As I said human trafficking is a very profitable line of activity in terms of revenue generated. The usual jargon one uses, the expression one uses is that you can sell drugs once but you can sell a woman's body over and over again. It becomes extremely profitable in this sense."
Over 2.4 million people are currently being exploited either sexually or for labour purposes. Other forms of human trafficking include domestic slavery, the removal of organs and the exploitation of children through begging and as child soldiers. About 80 percent of victims are women and girls, according to the UN.
At an event to launch the campaign, Mexican President Felipe Calderon said:
"Human trafficking is another reason to combat organized crime with determination because people who are smuggled like objects are demanding our help, our courage. Not our cowardice. Not our diligence. Not our fear and they are within their rights to so do."
Spain will be next to join the campaign in June.
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