Human trafficking cases hit a 13-year record high, new UN report shows

© UNICEF/UNI91025/Noorani Two girls apply make-up at Kandapara, a brothel in the city of Tangail, Bangladesh. A man offered them to find them jobs, but instead sold them to Kandapara. (2009)

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


The latest Global Report On Trafficking In Persons, released on Tuesday by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) at UN headquarters in New York, shows a record-high number of cases detected during 2016, but also the largest recorded conviction rate of traffickers.

“The report was undertaken for a simple reason: if we want to succeed in confronting human trafficking in all its manifestations, we must better understand its scope and structure,” said Yury Fedotov, UNODC’s Executive Director as he presented the report in New York. “We need to appreciate where human trafficking is happening, who are its victims and who is perpetrating this crime.”

According to the latest figures compiled by UNODC, the record conviction and detection rates could either be a sign that countries have strengthened their capacity to identify victims – such as through specific legislation, better coordination among law enforcement entities, and improved victim protection services – or, that the number of actual instances of trafficking has increased.

While in 2003 fewer than 20,000 cases had been recorded, the number of cases recorded in 2016 had jumped to over 25,000.

Despite improvements in data collection, impunity prevails

Over the last decade, the capacity of national authorities to track and assess patterns and flows of human trafficking has improved in many parts of the world. UNODC’s report notes that this is also due to a specific focus of the international community in developing standards for data collection. In 2009, only 26 countries had an institution which systematically collected and disseminated data on trafficking cases, while by 2018, the number had risen to 65.

However, many countries in Africa and Asia continue to have low conviction rates, and at the same time detect fewer victims which, UNODC stresses, “does not necessarily mean that traffickers are not active”.

In fact, the report shows that victims trafficked from areas of the world with low detection/conviction rates are found in large numbers in other areas of the world, suggesting that a high degree of impunity prevails in these low-reporting regions.

“This impunity could serve as an incentive to carry out more trafficking,” the report warns.

Women and girls remain a major target

“Traffickers the world over continue to target women and girls,” wrote Executive Director Fedotov, in the report’s preface. ‘The vast majority of detected victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation and 35 per cent of those trafficked for forced labour are female.”

The report notes “considerable regional differences in the sex and age profiles of detected trafficking victims.” In West Africa, most of the detected victims are children, both boys and girls, while in South Asia, victims are equally reported to be men, women and children. In Central Asia, a larger share of adult men is detected compared to other regions, while in Central America and the Caribbean, more girls are recorded.

Sexual exploitation, the top form of trafficking

Most of the victims detected globally are trafficked for sexual exploitation, especially in the Americas, Europe, and East Asia and the Pacific. In sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, trafficking for forced labour is the most commonly detected form. In Central Asia and South Asia, trafficking for forced labour and sexual exploitation are equally prevalent,

Other forms of human trafficking include: girls forced into marriage, more commonly detected in South-East Asia; children for illegal adoption, more common in Central and South American countries; forced criminality, mainly reported in Western and Southern Europe; and organ removal, primarily detected in North Africa, and Central and Eastern Europe.

“Victims can be in restaurants, fisheries, brothels, farms, homes, and even organ trafficking and illegal adoption,” said Rani Hong, who survived child trafficking herself as she was taken from her family in India at age 7, submitted to intimidation, physical abuse and slavery, until she was sold for illegal adoption in Canada and later the United States.

“I was told by my witnesses that when I came into the United States, I was not able to walk because I had been locked in a small cage. This is what this industry is doing, and this is what happened to me.”

Many other forms, such as trafficking for exploitation in begging, or for the production of pornographic material, are reported in different parts of the world.

Armed conflict and displacement, a key driver of human trafficking

The report shows that armed conflicts can increase vulnerability to trafficking in different ways as areas with weak rule of law and lack of resources to respond to crime, provide traffickers with a fertile terrain to carry out their operations, preying on those who are desparately in need.

Armed groups and other criminals may take the opportunity to traffic victims – including children – for sexual exploitation, sexual slavery, forced marriage, armed combat and various forms of forced labour. This is the case for example in sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East, South-East Asia and elsewhere.

In some refugee camps in the Middle East, also, it has been documented that girls and young women have been ‘married off’ without their consent and subjected to sexual exploitation in neighbouring countries.

In addition, recruitment of children for use as armed combatants is widely documented. UNODC’s report notes that within conflict zones, armed groups can use trafficking as a strategy to assert territorial dominance, spread fear among civilians in the territories where they operate to keep the local population under control. They may also use women and girls as ‘sex slaves’ or force them into marriages to appeal to new potential male recruits.

The study shows that in all the conflicts examined for the report, forcibly displaced populations (refugees and internally displaced families) have been specifically targeted: from settlements of Syrian and Iraqi refugees, to Afghans and Rohingya fleeing conflict and persecution.

Notably, the risk faced by migrants and refugees travelling through conflict areas, such as Libya or parts of sub-Saharan Africa, is also well documented: in Libya, for example, militias control some detention centres for migrants and refugees and are coercing detained migrants and asylum seekers for different exploitative purposes.

“While we are far from ending impunity, we have made headway in the 15 years since the Protocol against Trafficking in Persons entered into force,” said UNODC’s chief Mr. Fedotov, as he noted that “nearly every country now has legislation in place criminalizing human trafficking”.

“The international community needs to accelerate progress to build capacities and cooperation, to stop human trafficking in conflict situations and in all our societies where this terrible crime continues to operate in the shadows,” he stated in the report’s preface.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Young people meet in Malta to shape the future of Europe

As human caravan moves through Mexico, ‘full respect’ needed for national control of borders: UN chief

‘Continue working together’ UN chief urges DR Congo, as country heads to polls

World Cancer Day: Early cervical cancer diagnosis could save lives of over 300,000 women

UN launches plan to promote peace, inclusive growth in Africa’s Sahel

UN chief calls for ‘increased commitment’ to resolution on 10th anniversary of Georgia conflict

Eurozone at risk of home-made deflation and recession

UN refugee agency ‘deeply shocked’ at stabbing death of ‘deeply courageous’ Polish mayor

Health Education, is it a necessity?

The Brussels bureaucracy blocks the Youth Guarantee scheme

A Sting Exclusive: “Leading by example! EU must push for UN deal to avoid dangerous climate change”, European Parliament Vice-President Ulrike Lunacek cries out from Brussels

10th ASEM in Milan and the importance of being one: EU’s big challenge on the way to China

How close is the new financial Armageddon? IMF gives some hints

The big five EU telecom operators in dire straights

The Brexit factor in the US-China trade war and other conflicts

Two States ‘side-by-side’ is the ‘peaceful and just solution’ for Israel-Palestine conflict: Guterres

Fresh airstrikes kill dozens in conflict-ravaged Syria

UN and partners appeal for $920 million to meet ‘dire needs’ of Rohingya refugees

Medical Education is #NotATarget

EU Ambassadors in the EP: a multilateral approach to global challenges needed

EU budget: Making the EU fit for its role as strong global actor

The movement of anti-vaccers: taking humanity back 200 years

EU Parliament: Deposit guarantee and trading platform transparency sought

Main results of Environment Council of 09 October 2018

10 cities are predicted to gain megacity status by 2030

Why Italy will not follow the Greek road; Eurozone to change or unravel

Black Panther’s ‘General Okoye’ joins the fight against gender-based violence

MEPs call on EU countries to end precarious employment practices

The battle for the 2016 EU Budget to shake the Union; Commission and Parliament vs. Germany

‘Leaders who sanction hate speech’ encourage citizens to do likewise, UN communications chief tells Holocaust remembrance event

This project in India helps people and tigers co-exist peacefully

ILO’s Bureau for Employers´Activities to publish new study on women in business and management

It’s not summer holidays what lead to the bad August of the German economy

Investing in rural women and girls, ‘essential’ for everyone’s future: UN chief

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: Europe’s children urge leaders to commit to climate action at UN Climate Summit in Paris

European Commissioner for Youth wants young people to be at heart of policy making

The global economy isn’t working for women. Here’s what world leaders must do

Eurozone: Inflation plunge to 0.4% in July may trigger cataclysmic developments

How the United States can win back its manufacturing mojo

EYE to kick off on Friday: 8000+ young people discussing the future of Europe 1 – 2 June

India’s economy is growing fast, but its poorest areas lag behind. Here’s why this could be about to change

EU Copyright Directive: Google News threatens to leave Europe while media startups increasingly worry

Ecofin: ‘The Friday battle’ for the banking union

How fungi could save the world

UN relief official in Yemen condemns ‘horrific’ attack on passenger buses

Nigeria: UN chief ‘appalled’ by killing of aid worker; calls for release of remaining hostages

Germany openly seeks more advantages for its banks

A young student discusses the determinants of migration in the European Union

Erdogan vies to become Middle East Sultan over Khashoggi’s killing

Robots aren’t stealing all our jobs, says the World Bank’s chief economist

EU Budget 2019 deal: EP boosts support for researchers and the young

European Commission recommends to the European Council (Article 50) to find that decisive progress has been made in Brexit negotiations

European Semester Autumn Package: Bolstering inclusive and sustainable growth

Google prepares to final EU judgement over Android antitrust case

800,000 people commit suicide every year: WHO

A day in the life of a Rohingya refugee

‘Well-being of two million’ in Gaza at stake as emergency fuel runs dry: UN humanitarian coordinator

Eurozone slowly but surely builds its Banking Union

The economic cost of anti-vaccination movements in Italy

MWC 2016 LIVE: Mobile World Congress shows off planes, trams and automobiles

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s