[JURIST] The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) [official website] on Tuesday released a report [text, PDF] detailing the ongoing problem of human trafficking in Europe. According to the report, European criminal organizations make a yearly profit of around $3 billion from trafficking humans for sexual exploitation or forced labor. The report also found that at a minimum, 140,000 are currently victims of human trafficking in Europe. The UNODC announced the findings of the report [press release] at an event where Spain became the first country in Europe to join the UN’s Blue Heart Campaign [official website] against human trafficking. The Blue Heart Campaign seeks to raise awareness of human trafficking, provide support to victims of human trafficking and persuade countries to implement the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons [text, PDF]. Speaking at the event, UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa called on all countries in Europe to join the campaign [press release] and equated human trafficking to slavery, saying “Europeans believe that slavery was abolished centuries ago. But look around—slaves are in our midst. We must do more to reduce demand for slave-made products and exploitation.”
Earlier this month, the UNODC released a report [text, PDF; press release] describing the globalization of organized crime [JURIST news archive] and its threat to international security [JURIST report]. The report specifically addressed human trafficking and its effect on international criminal activities. Also this month, the US State Department (DOS) [official website] released its annual report [text, PDF; JURIST report] on human trafficking conditions across the globe. It was the tenth annual report on human trafficking by the DOS, following reports in 2009 [JURIST report], 2008 [materials], 2007 and 2006 [JURIST reports]. In January, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] ruled that sex trafficking violates conventions [JURIST report] against slavery and forced labor. Last October, the US and the EU announced an international criminal treaty [JURIST report] that will greatly increase cooperation between the two governments in fighting the trafficking of humans and the sale of illegal drugs.