The UN agency charged with combating international crime and an organization promoting fair and efficient migration practicessigned an agreement [UN News Centre report] on Tuesday pledging to work together to reduce human trafficking [JURIST news archive] and migrant smuggling. In the agreement, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) [official websites] agreed to coordinate their efforts and resources and share information in order to prevent crimes. The UNODC estimates that there are at least 2.4 million victims of human trafficking at any given moment. The agreement was signed by the agencies at the Central Asia Border Security Initiative [ministerial declaration, PDF] in Vienna. The agreement reaffirms a cooperative relationship between the two organizations and outlines specific cooperative guidelines.
Human trafficking has become an increasingly scrutinized issue in recent years. Earlier this month, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon [official profile] implored countries to strengthen collaborative efforts to combat human trafficking [JURIST report]. In November 2011, the UNODC and an agency dealing with aid for refugees signed a joint agreement [JURIST report] to work more closely to combat migrant smuggling and human trafficking. In June 2010, the UNODC issued a memorandum [text, PDF] that human trafficking is becoming a major problem in Europe [JURIST report]. Also that month, the US State Department [official website] released its annual report on human trafficking [JURIST report], concluding that the US has a "serious problem with human trafficking, both for labor and commercial sexual exploitation."