In the 2008 movie "Taken
" Liam Neeson plays Bryan Mills a retired CIA agent searching for his seventeen-year-old daughter, Kim, who has been kidnapped by an Albanian gang of human traffickers. Mills’ story was based on the real life story of William Hillar, from Maryland, a retired Colonel of the U.S. Army Special Forces.
According to a press release from the United States Attorney’s Office
, Hillar lied for 12 years about his special forces service and training in terrorism experience in order to gain teaching employment. On top of this he made up the story of his daughter’s kidnapping and murder by sex traffickers. He claimed she had been kidnapped, become a sex slave, sodomized and tortured and then hacked to death and tossed into the sea.
In the press release from the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein says,
William G. Hillar claimed that he had earned praise as a hero, but the truth is he deserves condemnation as a liar. He did not serve in the U.S. Army, did not receive military training in counter-terrorism and psychological warfare, and did not lose his daughter to sex traffickers.
According to Hillar’s plea agreement, from around 1998 to 2010, private and public sector organizations paid him at least $171,415 for his services for teaching, workshops, speeches and conducting training on counter terrorism, drugs trafficking, human trafficking and related topics. In order to secure positions of employment, Hillar falsely represented his experiences and training on the Internet.
Hillar aged 67, was sentenced last year to 21 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. His daughter, neither kidnapped nor involved in human trafficking is alive and well.
In a report published by the United Nations
, human trafficking, a global problem, is described as a modern-day slave-trade.
The report states that it is difficult to assess the real size of human trafficking due its complexity and the report gives a conservative estimate of there being 2.5 million victims at any one time. The report also states that human trafficking affects every region of the world and generates tens of billions of dollars in profits for criminals annually.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) first attempted to identify human trafficking patterns in April 2006. The second report, published February 2009
, catalogues and analyses data from 155 countries.
The main conclusions of this report are:
• The number of countries that have taken steps to implement the UN Protocol against Trafficking in Persons - has doubled.
• The number of convictions has increased but in proportion to the growing awareness and size of the problem.
• A disproportionate number of women are involved in human trafficking, as victims and as traffickers.
• Sexual exploitation is the most commonly identified form of human trafficking (79%), followed by forced labour (18%).
Other forms of exploitation are under-reported: forced or bonded labour; domestic servitude and forced marriage; organ removal; and the exploitation of children in begging, the sex trade, and warfare.
The International Labor Organization
state over 12 million people are held in ‘forced labour’ worldwide - more than at any time in world history.
UNODC will publish the next Global Report on Trafficking in Persons in December 2012, and afterwards, biennially.