UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, has called on governments to do more to shield migrants and refugees from human traffickers.

In a statement issued last Friday to mark World Day against Trafficking in Persons, Mr Ban said human traffickers preyed on the "most desperate and vulnerable".

To end this inhumane practice, we must do more to shield migrants and refugees - and particularly young people, women and children - from those who would exploit their yearnings for a better, safer and more dignified future," he said.

"We must govern migration in a safe and rights-based way, create sufficient and accessible pathways for the entry of migrants and refugees, and ultimately tackle the root causes of the conflicts -- extreme poverty, environmental degradation and other crises which force people across borders, seas and deserts."

Calling on every nation to "recognise our shared responsibility", he urged all states to adopt and implement the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and its protocol on human trafficking as well as other core international human rights instruments.

On 19th September, the UN wll hold a summit on refugees and migrants at which it is hoped there will be renewed commitment towards addressing human trafficking around the world.

On the weekend, UK Prime Minister Theresa May unveiled the government's plans to boost efforts to tackle human trafficking with £33.5 million from the country's foreign aid budget. 

"This is the great human rights issue of our time, and as prime minister I am determined that we will make it a national and international mission to rid our world of this barbaric evil," she wrote in the Sunday Telegraph.

"Just as it was Britain that took a historic stand to ban slavery two centuries ago, so Britain will once again lead the way in defeating modern slavery and preserving the freedoms and values that have defined our country for generations."

A year ago, Ms May introduced the Modern Slavery Act into the UK Parliament while Home Secretary. Almost 300 modern slavery offences were prosecuted in 2015 after the act was introduced. She also appointed the UK's first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner in late 2014.