Ashley Judd speaks at U.N.

July 2, 2008 5:24:30 AM PDT
Ashley Judd says she decided to lend her voice against human trafficking after she "stumbled upon" the issue while visiting brothels, slums, hospices and other clinics in 12 nations to promote public health. "I know that the unheard are helped when they are heard. I know that compassionate listening helps me, and my goal was to help the U.N. help them," the actress said at a news conference Tuesday at U.N. headquarters in New York.

Judd, a two-time Golden Globe nominee whose screen credits include "De-Lovely" and "Kiss the Girls," also has used her celebrity to focus attention on HIV/AIDS prevention to young adults around the world. She has been serving as a global ambassador for YouthAIDS, an education and prevention program of the group Population Services International.

"I do think that all of the issues are fundamentally connected. They all spring out of gender inequality," she told reporters.

About 2.5 million people worldwide, most of them women and children, are thought to be victims of the $32 billion annual industry of human trafficking, according to U.N. figures. The General Assembly met Tuesday for a "thematic debate" on the subject.

--- On the Net: UN Office on Drugs and Crime: http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/index.html

Population Services International: http://www.psi.org/


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