Ricky Martin is known best as the pop singer who has sold over 55 million albums internationally, but he also uses his star power to help bring an end to human trafficking.
Martin is the founder of the Ricky Martin Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to the well being of children around the world. The Puerto Rico based foundation partners with international organizations, the private sector, local non-profits and individuals to defend children against human trafficking and to provide them a safer world through wellness initiatives.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, victims of human trafficking are subjected to force, fraud, and coercion for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labor. Many victims are forced to work in prostitution or pornography.
The trafficking of humans generates $10 billion annually. It is tied with arms dealing as the second largest criminal industry in the world, preceded only by the trafficking of drugs.
In 2004 the Ricky Martin Foundation launched the People for Children initiative to combat human trafficking, with a special emphasis on children’s exploitation. The initiative serves as a catalyst for awareness-raising through Public Service Announcements and support of programs geared toward the elimination of sex trafficking, debt bondage, forced labor, and sex slavery.
In April 2008, Martin said, “My dream right now is all about seeing abolition, abolition of a new era, abolition of what we call a modern day form of slavery, which is human trafficking. And I’m not going to give up.”
The website of the Ricky Martin Foundation offers information about the organization’s programs, online safety, child pornography and political exploitation of children.
Photo courtesy of Oquendo http://www.flickr.com/photos/oquendo/571350670/sizes/m/