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Number of human trafficking victims on the rise, says UN report

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THE number of human trafficking victims all over the world is on the rise as armed groups and terrorists are trafficking women and children to generate funds and recruit, according to the latest Global Report on Trafficking in Persons launched on Monday, in Vienna.

The report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) was presented by the Executive Director Yury Fedotov at a special event of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) with Austrian Foreign Minister, Karin Kneissl.

Drawing on information from 142 countries, the report examines trafficking trends and patterns and puts the spotlight on human trafficking in armed conflict.

“Child soldiers, forced labour, sexual slavery – human trafficking has taken on horrific dimensions as armed groups and terrorists use it to spread fear and gain victims to offer as incentives to recruit new fighters,” said Fedotov in his remarks.

“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.”

Also speaking at the launch of the report, Kneissl highlighted the importance of the Global Report in supporting the UN Member States to devise targeted, informed responses to this “grave violation of human rights and human dignity”.

“Sound information and a solid base of evidence for our policies are two of the most important things to fight this disgusting crime in the most efficient way possible. We simply need to know what it actually is we are dealing with,” she said.

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Globally, countries are detecting and reporting more victims and convicting more traffickers, according to the report. It also found a clear increase in the number of children being trafficked, who now account for 30 per cent of all detected victims, with far more girls detected than boys. Sexual exploitation continues to be the main purpose for trafficking, accounting for some 59 per cent.

The report showed that individuals were being trafficked for a number of reasons including sexual exploitation, forced labour, illegal adoption, forced criminality, forced marriage, and organ removal.

“Trafficking for forced marriage, for example, is more commonly detected in parts of South-East Asia, while trafficking of children for illegal adoption is recorded in Central and South American countries. Trafficking for forced criminality is mainly reported in Western and Southern Europe, while trafficking for organ removal is primarily detected in North Africa, Central and South-Eastern Europe, and Eastern Europe,” the report read in part.

“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. The detection of other forms of trafficking may partly reflect the ways in which countries have chosen to criminalize different forms of exploitation.”

Ambassador Alena Kupchyna of Belarus, who chairs the 28th session of the Crime Commission and moderated the event, said that tackling the global challenge of human trafficking is at the heart of the Commission’s work.

“Practically every nation is affected by this crime, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination of victims,” she said.

“Therefore, I take this opportunity to highlight the crucial role of international cooperation and partnerships to address this crime effectively. I call the member states to continue working together maintaining the topic of trafficking in persons high in the Commission’s busy agenda.”

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