U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.N.’s top official on Human Rights Navi Pillay on Sunday asked governments worldwide to enforce strict action against human trafficking as the world body hosted a special event for the victims and survivors of the menace.

Speaking at the UN headquarters here Mr. Ban said the fight against human trafficking in form of debt bondage, forced labour, torture, organ removal, sexual exploitation should be guided by “prevention protection and prosecution“.

“Human trafficking injures, traumatises and kills individuals. It devastates families and threatens global security,” he said.

The UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Navi Pillay asked governments to avoid subjecting victims of trafficking to summary deportations, immigrations laws, especially in case of children.

“Victims of trafficking should be given the support and assistance they require to recover their dignity and their right,” she said.

Ms. Pillay also noted that international community must recognise the link between trafficking and inequality, entrenched racial and gender discrimination, sexual exploitation including prostitution, and inefficient migration regimes.

“We must acknowledge that this practice is a hidden shameful part of a broader global market in which all of us are in some way involved,” Ms. Pillai said.

Indian activist, Ruchira Gupta noted that in the last ten years “the nature of trafficking has undergone a dramatic change.”

“They (survivors) stand for those among the global community who do not accept the inevitability of slavery or trafficking,” she said.

Ms. Gupta, who recently received the 2009 Clinton Global Citizen Awards, founded the Apne-Aap Women’s Worldwide in 2002 that is working to end all forms of male violence.

It is estimated that the number of enslaved persons in the worldwide today is between 12 million to 27 million with 20 per cent of all victims being children and 79 per cent being trafficked for sex.

Two victims of human trafficking also spoke at the event, one was a girl survivor abducted at age 14 by Ugandan rebels who described her plight as a sex slave for eight years. Another girl from Nepal was trafficked for work on a United States military base in Iraq.

More In: International | News