International Women's Day is a day to reflect on the need for every woman and girl to lead lives of dignity, equality and respect. The theme of this year's day is: "Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030".
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Children make up almost a third of all human trafficking victims worldwide, according to a report released today by UNODC. Additionally, the report states that women and girls comprise 71 per cent of human trafficking victims, and highlights the recruitment or abduction of children by armed groups for forced marriages, sexual slavery or as combatants.
In 2012, 43,600 women globally were murdered at the hands of their intimate partner or another family member. That's 119 women, on average, killed every single day or one woman murdered every 12 minutes. These figures are harrowing and sobering in equal measure.
Human trafficking is a parasitic crime that feeds on vulnerability, thrives in times of uncertainty and profits from inaction. While the international community struggles with what UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called the biggest refugee and migration crisis since World War Two, human traffickers and migrant smugglers are taking advantage of misery to turn a profit.
In every field of human endeavour - science, law, politics, and many others - women have made incredible contributions. Across the globe, however, the daily story of millions of women and young girls is too often not one of success, attainment and accomplishments; instead, it is a frightening story of alarming discrimination, economic disparity and appalling violence, including sexual violence.
While the world clearly has the political will and legal tools to take on human traffickers and their criminal networks, what are needed is more meaningful international cooperation and adequate funding to take effective action, senior United Nations officials said today, warning that the scourge now has victims spread across 152 different citizenships in 124 countries.