Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2018: Key Facts

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has released the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2018. The report draws information from 142 countries, examining trafficking trends and patterns.

Findings of the Report

The important observations made in the report are:

  • Human trafficking has taken a horrific dimension as armed groups and terrorists are using it to spread fear and gain victims to offer as incentives to recruit new fighters. The report cites child soldiers, forced labour and sexual slavery as examples.
  • There was a steady increase in the number of victims reported since 2010. Improved methods of detecting, recording and reporting data on trafficking or a real increase in the number of victims are cited as possible reasons for the increase in the number of victims reported.
  • Regions of Asia and the Americas witnessed the largest increase in the numbers of victims detected.
  • The large numbers of victims of trafficking detected outside their region of origin are from East Asia, followed by sub-Saharan Africa. There has been an increase in the number of convictions for trafficking in these regions.
  • Large areas of impunity still exist in many Asian and African countries, and conviction rates for trafficking remain very low.
  • Trafficking for sexual exploitation was the most prevalent form in European countries and in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, forced labour is the main factor driving the illicit trade in humans.
  • Women and girls formed the most trafficking victims worldwide. Almost three-quarters of women and girls were trafficked for sexual exploitation, and 35 per cent of them were trafficked for forced labour.
  • The report notes that in conflict zones, where the rule of law is weak, and civilians have little protection from crime, armed groups and criminals may take the opportunity to traffic them.
  • The report acknowledges that significant gaps in knowledge remain and many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and some parts of East Asia still lack sufficient capacity to record and share data on trafficking in persons.

Addressing human trafficking is a key component of the UN Sustainable Development Agenda. It requires the Member States to monitor progress in tackling the problem, and report the number of victims by sex, age and form of exploitation.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is a UN office established as Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention by combining the United Nations International Drug Control Program (UNDCP) and the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Division in the United Nations Office at Vienna.
It was established in the year 1997 and is headquartered at Vienna. The United Nations Secretary-General appoints the agency’s Executive Director.
UNODC was established to ensure a coordinated, comprehensive response to the interrelated issues of illicit trafficking in and abuse of drugs, crime prevention and criminal justice, international terrorism, and political corruption.



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