15 April 2010Mexico became the first country today to launch a national version of the United Nations-led “Blue Heart” campaign against human trafficking, which is regarded as one of the most lucrative forms of illegal activity for criminal groups. “I admire Mexico’s leadership in fighting this modern slavery demonstrated through its strong commitment to the ‘Blue Heart’ campaign,” said Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which spearheaded the global campaign.“Since almost everything we consume has been stained by the blood, sweat and tears of trafficking victims, we have a shared responsibility to act,” Mr. Costa added, saying that taking action against human trafficking is not just the responsibility of governments.As part of Mexico’s launch, more than a dozen emblematic buildings were lit up in blue across the capital, Mexico City, in a symbolic act to raise awareness about the Blue Heart campaign. More than 2.4 million people – up to 80 per cent women and girls – are currently being exploited as victims of human trafficking, either for sexual or labour exploitation, the UN has said. Other forms of human trafficking include domestic servitude, the removal of organs and the exploitation of children.“I was blindfolded and forced into a car,” a Guatemalan child told the UN Information Service in Vienna (UNIS).The girl – just six years old at the time – was forcibly removed from her home by a child trafficking ring and taken to a brothel in Cancun. She is now taking refuge in a shelter for human trafficking survivors in Mexico City.Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called last week for strengthened global cooperation and more innovation in the battle against organized crime. He also urged governments to ratify and implement the 10-year-old UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three additional Protocols, which aim to suppress trafficking in persons, the smuggling of migrants, and the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms and ammunition. In June, Spain is expected be the next country to join the Blue Heart global awareness campaign.