French superstar Jean Michel Jarre and Hollywood actor Richard Gere have joined forces to raise awareness of human trafficking.

The musician spoke out at a conference in Athens, Italy, on Monday (23JAN06), where organisers said over 12 million people across the globe are victims of forced labour - much of which involves sexual exploitation.

Jarre said, "I think that the world of arts... should firstly be aware of what we're talking about, and that's the main problem."

Hollywood star Gere sent a taped message to the meeting, which was organised and attended by the Egyptian President's wife SUZANNE MUBARAK and her Women's International Peace Movement.

On the tape Gere said, "It is unthinkable that now, in the 21st century, millions of people - especially women and children, boys and girls - are being trafficked around the globe, exploited and abused in every conceivable way."