The Inter-American Development Bank today announced that it was launching a regional campaign against human trafficking called Llama y Vive (“Call and Live”) to raise public awareness of the problem and promote hotlines for prevention and victim protection.
The campaign, to be launched initially in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Peru, consists of distributing and disseminating print and audiovisual materials featuring Puerto Rican singer and humanist Ricky Martin. “We have to reach the masses, the people, so that they know that anyone can be a victim of trafficking. It is crucial that governments be involved and be aware of what is going on. Without them we cannot win this battle,” Martin recently declared.
|Llama y Vive is the result of a regional partnership between the IDB, the Ricky Martin Foundation and the regional offices of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for Central America and the Andean Region. In each country, interagency working groups against human trafficking established as part of the ratification process for the United Nations Palermo Convention to prevent and sanction human trafficking will also join in the campaign.|
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Human trafficking is a violation of human rights that affects over 2 million people every year. According to data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, it totals $32 billion annually, making it the most lucrative crime after drug trafficking.
People trafficking is not limited to sexual exploitation, but also includes forced labor, sweat shop labor, organ extraction, forced military service and forced marriage. Women and children are most seriously affected by human trafficking.
“The IDB has decided to take an active role in the fight against trafficking because the phenomenon is linked to poverty and the lack of opportunities in Latin America and the Caribbean,” said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno. “We want to support those governments that are committed to carrying out specific projects for prevention of trafficking, effective administration of justice and victim protection,” he noted.
The first press conference on the national campaign will be held on May 17, 2006 in Lima, Peru. In addition to presentations in the capital cities, the campaign will be launched in other cities identified as key along the trafficking routes in each country, and will include activities with civil society and the most vulnerable groups. The campaign targets young men and women who plan to seek new opportunities far from home, along with victims of human trafficking in their own countries or abroad.
In addition to the campaign, the IDB has produced a half-hour documentary on best practices in the fight against human trafficking in Latin America, with testimonies and information on projects in Colombia, Argentina and Guatemala. The documentary, the first of its kind in the region, will be presented in the coming months and distributed free of charge to all television channels. This educational film is presented by Ricky Martin.
“We are very pleased and honored to be joining forces with the IDB and IOM, because only through such partnerships can we fight this hateful crime,” said Ángel Saltos, president of the Ricky Martin Foundation. “Children are also victims of human trafficking and it is our duty to defend their rights,” he insisted.
In 2004 the IDB established an interagency task force to develop an action plan and provide support for governments in Latin America and the Caribbean in the fight against human trafficking. The IDB has also provided technical cooperation funding to fight this crime in Bolivia, Colombia, El Salvador, Jamaica, Nicaragua and Paraguay.