VIENNA, 7 January (UN Information Service) — Armed groups are using human trafficking as a strategy to finance activities or increase their workforce in conflicts around the world, according to a report released today by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
children for use as soldiers is widely documented in conflicts in Central
Africa and the Middle East, among others, according to the Global Report on
Trafficking in Persons. Such groups are also trafficking adults and children for
exploitation in mining and other extractive industries, and to spread fear to
control the local population.
girls are trafficked into ‘sex slavery’ to boost recruitment and reward
soldiers. This was the experience of Nadia Murad, UNODC Goodwill Ambassador for
the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking and a winner of the 2018 Nobel
Peace Prize, who was sold into sexual slavery along with thousands of other
Yazidi girls and women after the Islamic State overran her village in Iraq when
she was 19 years old.
is the first trafficking victim to serve as a UN Goodwill Ambassador, and by
sharing her experience of being enslaved and raped by Islamic State terrorists,
she has been a leading voice in exposing this abhorrent crime,” said UNODC
Executive Director Yury Fedotov. “I urge the international community to heed
Nadia’s call for justice, and I hope this report can contribute to these
conflict areas, not only armed groups but also other criminals traffic people
fleeing danger and persecution. Forcibly displaced populations have been
targeted by traffickers, including settlements of Syrian and Iraqi refugees,
Afghans and Rohingya. The report highlights that circumstances generated or
exacerbated by armed conflict, such as displacement, weak rule of law,
socio-economic hardship, social fragmentation and family breakdown, increase
people’s vulnerability to trafficking.
also shows that 70 per cent of the detected trafficking victims worldwide are
female. Around half are adult women, while girls comprise a fifth of all
victims and their share of the total is increasing.
exploitation continues to be the main purpose for trafficking, accounting for
some 59 per cent, while forced labour accounts for around 34 per cent of all
the patterns appear to be slightly different. While boys are mainly trafficked
for forced labour (50 per cent), many are also trafficked for sexual
exploitation (27 per cent) and ‘other’ forms of exploitation such as begging,
child soldiers and forced criminal activities. Girls were trafficked in 72 per
cent of cases for sexual exploitation and in 21 per cent of cases for forced
countries are detecting and reporting more victims and convicting more
traffickers. The number of victims reported peaked at more than 24,000 detected
victims in 2016, and the increases in numbers of detected victims have been
more pronounced in the Americas and in parts of Asia.
The share of
domestic victims, persons trafficked within their own country, among those
detected has more than doubled from 27 per cent in 2010 to 58 per cent in 2016,
the study finds. Most of the trafficking victims that are detected in regions
other than their own come from parts of East Asia or sub-Saharan Africa. This
may be related to the high level of impunity in these regions, which are often
areas of origin for trafficking victims.
world’s richest countries are more likely to be destinations for victims who
are trafficked from more distant origins, and increased international
cooperation is required to respond.
“While we are
far from ending impunity, international and national efforts to effectively
implement the Protocol against Trafficking in Persons have made a difference.
Over the past ten years, the share of countries recording no convictions
declined from 15 per cent to nine per cent, and some countries recorded their
first convictions during the 2014 to 2016 period,” said Mr. Fedotov. “This
Report shows that we need to step up technical assistance and strengthen
cooperation, to support all countries to protect victims and bring criminals to
justice, and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”
The report, produced by UNODC every two years, reinforces
the link between tackling this crime and achieving the UN Sustainable
Development Agenda. The Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2018 is being
launched just weeks after the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly
and Regular Migration, which reinforced the existing international legal
framework and highlighted the key importance of the UN Trafficking in Persons