What does a national treasure hunter have in common with a UN Goodwill Ambassador? Both are roles taken on by Hollywood star, Nicolas Cage. This time, “Big Daddy” wants to kick human trafficking’s ass. The actor appeared last month in Vienna to urge nations to ratify the UN Convention on Transnational Crime. His advocacy demonstrates how stars can use their platform to raise awareness on trafficking—and fight the real bad guys. Last year, Nicholas Cage was appointed the Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). As part of this position, he had the opportunity to take a mission trip to Uganda and Kenya and meet children victimized by trafficking. He was greatly affected by the survivors he met there, including a young girl who had been the sex slave of a rebel leader and was forced to bear her rapist’s child.
In Vienna, he acknowledged that no part of the world is immune to trafficking, and both children and adults are at risk of becoming victims in every country on earth. He also emphasized that it is imperative for states to work together and use the Convention, and its three protocols, as a tool to stop cross-border trafficking.
States that ratify the Convention commit to legally cooperate with other states, and improve the training and capacity of national authorities. States also have the opportunity to ratify three additional protocols, the first of which works to prevent and punish the trafficking of women and children. It also has the objective of protecting and assisting victims of trafficking. As of June 10, 154 states have ratified the Convention, and governments are increasingly using the agreement for law enforcement purposes.
Not only has Mr. Cage done great work in raising awareness about the Convention, but he has also tackled trafficking and transnational crime on a local level. In May 2009, he launched “Welcome to Gulu,” a benefit exhibition at the UN Headquarters in New York that featured paintings by former child soldiers and abducted girls.
“I’ve come to understand who the world's real heroes are. It's not the movies stars, not the actors…it’s the ordinary people [like police officers, journalists and NGO workers]. They are extraordinary,” he said in Geneva.
By helping to eradicate human trafficking for good, Nicolas Cage has proved that he doesn’t just play a hero on TV—he plays one in real life. Join him and fight trafficking at home, and abroad. Sign the Child Protection Compact Act by November 15!