During a trip to India, actress and
PSI Board Member Ashley Judd
visited several slums and met
with people living there.
NITED NATIONS, June 3, 2008 — U.S. Actress and PSI Board Member Ashley Judd, who has toured PSI programs in 12 countries to visit brothels, slums, hospices and other facilities, spoke out today against sex trafficking as one of the keynote speakers at a thematic debate on the subject at the United Nations.
"I know that the unheard are helped when they are heard. I know that compassionate listening helps me, and my goal was to help the U.N. help them," the actress said at a news conference at U.N. headquarters in New York.
Judd, a two-time Golden Globe nominee whose screen credits include "De-Lovely" and "Kiss the Girls," also has used her celebrity to focus attention on HIV prevention to young adults around the world. She has been serving as a global ambassador for YouthAIDS, an education and prevention program of PSI, since 2003.
Global and regional pacts must be put into action if the world is to tackle the scourge of human trafficking, a $32 billion annual industry, said the other keynote speaker, General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim. Despite United Nations-backed agreements and initiatives, “there remains a vast gulf between the letter of the law and the situation on the ground.”
Despite such pacts as the landmark UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, roughly 2.5 million people worldwide - mostly women and children - are believed to be victims of human trafficking. Additionally, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime has identified 127 countries as sources of trafficked people and 137 nations as destinations for these victims.
Mr. Kerim told participants at today’s debate that increased global interdependence has “provided new avenues for criminal networks to operate on a global scale,” adding that trafficking affects all regions of the world and does not discriminate between developed and developing areas.
He urged Member States to act on their commitments, to enhance protection and assistance for victims and to prosecute traffickers.
Furthermore, the Assembly President stressed the need to boost the economic and social conditions to minimize people’s vulnerability to trafficking, and also appealed for stepped up cooperation among the private sector and nations.
Today’s event comes on the heels of the first-ever global forum to address human trafficking in 2007 convened by UN.GIFT, which brought together more than 1,000 experts, government authorities, law enforcement officials, business leaders, people who had been trafficked from over 100 countries, and others.
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