Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin on Thursday expressed his concern over the increase in child exploitation on the Caribbean island and called for the continuation of the public debate over human trafficking.

"We have to continue attending to this evil on all possible fronts. I'm concerned by the increase in this crime on our island. The initiatives have to come from all sectors, public prevention policies and laws that protect children and teenagers have to be created," the artist said in a communique.

The singer took advantage of the statement, which was released by the Ricky Martin Foundation, to announce that the organization is supporting the second part of the study entitled "Human Trafficking in Puerto Rico: A Challenge to Invisibility," headed by the island's former education secretary, Cesar Rey.

Martin and the directors of the foundation are closely following the construction of a center for victims of human trafficking and child exploitation in Loiza, a town on the northern coast of the island.

The central should be inaugurated during the first quarter of 2014 and is being backed by institutions with experience in prevention and education in Puerto Rico.

The Ricky Martin Foundation defends children's rights around the world in the areas of education, health care and social justice.

Its main program, "People for Children," combats the exploitation of children and young people resulting from human trafficking. 

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