UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Lucy Liu gave an impassioned speech at a symposium organized by the US Agency for International earlier this week to raise awareness about the estimated 1.2 million children who are trafficked worldwide every year.

The fight against child trafficking is a cause Liu has been passionate about since her appointment as a Goodwill Ambassador in 2004. She recently produced a documentary film, ‘Red Light’, which focuses on the issue of trafficking in Cambodia.

“With no options and not enough protection,” she said, “the world’s poorest children are being recruited more and more into a gruesome array of practices that include trafficking for sex, soldiering, begging, scavenging, working in factories and on farms, and domestic servitude.”

Other speakers at the trafficking symposium included USAID Acting Administrator Alonzo Fulgham, Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons Luis CdeBaca and Carlson Companies CEO Marilyn Carlson Nelson.

UNICEF’s efforts to protect children from trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation and other forms of abuse focus on creating a ‘protective environment’ for them. In such an environment, people at all levels of society work to enforce protective laws. They also educate children, educators and social service providers about how to prevent and respond to abuse, and challenge discrimination.

“I truly believe there is hope,” said Liu. “I believe this because of devoted workers and individuals around the world in organizations like UNICEF and USAID.”

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