New York, US – Renowned US actor, filmmaker and UN Goodwill Ambassador for Global Justice, Nicolas Cage, has called for greater efforts to assist victims of human trafficking, stressing that the international community cannot “stand quietly on the sidelines” while this scourge persists across the globe.
A UN statement, obtained by PANA in New York on Wednesday, stated that Mr. Cage made the call at an event in Vienna, Austria, to raise awareness on issues affecting human trafficking victims and to source private funds for them.
He said: “As a global society, we cannot tolerate people being bought and sold as commodities. We cannot fight for a better planet and for the rights of all its beings while we allow our own species to trick, abuse and brutally exploit each other for profit.
“We cannot stand quietly on the sidelines, while humans are being shipped and traded across the globe.”
The UN goodwill ambassador said: “A person stripped of their documents, their rights and their dignity needs specialized help. They need to rebuild their lives brick by brick. Your contribution can provide vital help to these victims.”
While in Vienna, Mr. Cage, who has starred in more than 60 movies and won an Academy Award for Best Actor in the film ‘Leaving Las Vegas’, renewed his appointment made in 2010 as UNODC Goodwill Ambassador.
He said it was a title and position he was “very proud to hold. Of all the experiences I have had in my life this has been the most humbling and challenging of responsibilities.”
On his part, UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Executive Director, Mr. Yury Fedotov, said: “Since 2010, US$ 1.5 million have been contributed to the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons.
“Thanks to this money, 11 grassroots organisations around the world have been able to support victims and survivors of trafficking, especially women and children,” he said.
Mr. Fedotov, however, stressed: “We need to do more. We need to join forces – the UN, Governments, NGOs, the private sector, community leaders and ordinary citizens – to stop this terrible crime.”
“We have a shared responsibility to end this cruel exploitation and abuse of human rights,” he added.
PANA learnt that the event, organised by Austrian businessman and philanthropist Ali Rahimi, was held under the auspices of UNODC.
A specially-designed “Blue Heart” carpet – an international symbol increasingly adopted in the fight against human trafficking — was auctioned at the event.
Proceeds from the event would go the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, which supports grassroots organisations that rescue, shelter and reintegrate victims into society.
The UNODC said that human trafficking affects every country in the world and victims are trafficked for sexual exploitation and forced labour.
A recent UNODC report found that women and girls make up 75 per cent of detected victims, with girls constituting two out of every three child victims.