UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called for global efforts to end the scourge of human trafficking.
In a message on World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, which falls on July 30, Guterres said that human trafficking knows no borders.
"Human trafficking takes many forms and knows no borders. Human traffickers too often operate with impunity, with their crimes receiving not nearly enough attention. This must change."
Human trafficking is a vile crime that feeds on inequalities, instability and conflict. Human traffickers prey on the vulnerable and rob them of their fundamental rights, Xinhua quoted the UN chief as saying.
Children and young people, migrants and refugees are especially susceptible. Women and girls are targeted, again and again, he said. "We see brutal sexual exploitation, including involuntary prostitution, forced marriage and sexual slavery. We see the appalling trade in human organs."
Guterres said the UN is committed to advancing action to bring traffickers to justice while protecting and supporting their victims.
The rights of victims must come first -- be they the victims of traffickers, smugglers, or of modern forms of slavery or exploitation, he stressed.
"On this World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, let us come together around the key issues of prevention, protection and prosecution to build a future where this crime cannot exist," said Guterres.