Friday, May 6, 2011

ASIA - From business to good deeds

During the day they exercise the most prestigious professions in Hong Kong they are bankers, accountants, lawyers or executives in telecoms. They receive astronomical salaries and look at the Victoria Harbour from the top of skyscrapers the most impressive of the city. But after work, they have a very different mission: they are preparing to become intelligence officers who put their skills, their contacts, their resources and intelligence to the fight against trafficking in human beings, including million people are victims in Asia.

Dozens of people have already agreed to use their influence to combat a scourge in the region. Necessarily anonymous, are the first members of the Mekong Club, a group created by a task force of the UN. When it enters into effect, the club will send its lawyers in court cases, will involve specialists from finance to trace the funds paid to traffickers and establish hotlines for victims.

To avoid being exposed to the threat of gangs that control regional traffic, these leaders of Hong Kong working underground. This initiative is led by the Inter-Agency Project on the UN human trafficking (UNIAP) in six Mekong countries: China, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia.

Since its establishment in the region, there is a decade UNIAP has forged close links with the governments of these countries to define common policies to fight against trafficking. But the more information tributary, the task seems more daunting. Every day, thousands of lives are destroyed by human trafficking: women and children used for sexual slavery and domestic, men forced to work, sometimes for years, in sweatshops or on boats .

The intervention of UNIAP helped to highlight the methods used by traffickers, the routes they travel and how they operate, but the scale of traffic sufficient to give an idea of the difficulty of the task . Today, an estimated 9.5 million people the number of trafficking victims in Asia, a business that generates some 34 billion dollars per year.

Lisa Taylor, chief technical specialist UNIAP, said he was deeply touched by the tragic situations in which it was facing fifteen years in the fight against trafficking. Thus, the sale of entire families of Myanmar is particularly appalling. "Some traffickers separate men from women and children, said Ms.

Taylor. The men are sent on fishing boats and women in karaoke bars. "Many people feel an irresistible urge to fight against trafficking, says Matthew Friedman, regional director for the project UNIAP." This is the best thing to do. We are dealing with slavery, something morally repugnant, and they want to help.

"Because of its strategic location at the heart of the Mekong Basin and its resources in areas such as telecommunications, logistics and Technology, Hong Kong emerged as the ideal base to launch this initiative. From the first meetings in Hong Kong, Mr. Friedman found that the idea of using the notables of the city was radically different from the measures which the government and humanitarian organizations typically use to fight against trafficking.

They proposed methods that would never come to the mind of an officer or head of an NGO, he said, and it was logical that the fight against trafficking should be entrusted to representatives of the business. He said this approach is likely to make a difference not only in the Mekong region, but globally.

"Trafficking in human beings generates some 34 billion dollars per year. The amount contributed by donors to fight against this traffic is around 300 million. When one knows the extent of the problem, it is extremely worrying to have a ridiculous amount of money to deal with something as serious as slavery, "Mr.

Friedman is concerned. For him, the fight against trafficking in human beings is the collective responsibility and all weapons must be made available service.

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