|Ricky Martin speaks to reporters at the UN.|
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New York, 20 October 2004 - Pop singer Ricky Martin appealed to the United Nations Wednesday for international help to fight sex tourism. “It is an organized crime,” he told a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York. “We must mobilize on this subject. There are many people who are in denial, and even the victims don’t know that they are victims.”
Ricky Martin has become a leading spokesperson in the fight against child sexual exploitation, and was recently named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
“I started working when I was nine years old, but it was my choice,” said Mr. Martin. “These children do not have a choice. They’re forced into slavery,” he said.
Trafficking in children is a global problem affecting large numbers of children. Some estimates have as many as 1.2 million children being trafficked every year. Children and their families are often unaware of the dangers of trafficking, believing that better employment and lives lie in other countries.