Schwarzenegger proclaims Human Trafficking Awareness Day

09:36, January 12, 2010      

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Continuing his commitment to take action to help end human trafficking, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a proclamation on Monday, declaring January 11, 2010 as Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

"Human trafficking is modern-day slavery. Victims are held against their will and are subjected to sexual exploitation, forced labor and a host of other deprivations of freedom and dignity," said the governor.

"This is a most terrible crime, and it's happening right now in countries across the world, including the United States."

The governor called for vigilance which "is crucial to rescuing those held captive", particularly women and children.

"Most victims have been abused, threatened and restrained to a point of being powerless to free themselves," Schwarzenegger noted.

Since coming into office, the governor has signed numerous bills that have increased not only the punishments for those convicted of trafficking, but also the support offered to the victims of this heinous crime.

"Each one of us here in the Golden State should be aware of this crime and contact law enforcement if we suspect someone is being held against their will," the governor said.

The statistics are startling: 27 million enslaved people worldwide; a 12-billion-dollar industry growing faster than drugs or arms; 600 to 800 thousand trafficked across international borders each year; and about 80 percent are women and children, according to official statistics.

It is estimated that California is amongst the top three states in the nation for human trafficking. The state's extensive international border, its major harbors and airports, its powerful economy and accelerating population, its large immigrant population and its industries make it a prime target for traffickers.

Source: Xinhua
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