UNODC expresses concern at increase in human trafficking as a result of COVID-19 crisis

The United Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has expressed concerns on the increase in the cases of human trafficking during the period of COVID-19 crisis. According to Global Report on Trafficking in Persons by the UNODC launched on February 2, 2021, Female victims continue to be particularly affected by trafficking in persons. In 2018, for every 10 victims detected globally, about five were adult women and two were girls. About one third of the overall detected victims were children, both girls and boys, while 20 per cent were adult men. The profile of the victims, however, changes widely in different parts of the world.  Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa detected more children than adults.  Conversely, in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the shares of adults among total victims were much greater in comparison to other parts of the world.  Europe, North America, as well as countries in Asia recorded more adult women among the victims detected. At the same time, countries in North Africa and the Middle East detected more adult men than other victims.

The share of children among detected trafficking victims has tripled while the share of boys has increased five times in the past 15 years. Girls are mainly trafficked for sexual exploitation, while boys are used for forced labor, according to the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons.

“Millions of women, children and men worldwide are out of work, out of school and without social support in the continuing COVID-19 crisis, leaving them at greater risk of human trafficking. We need targeted action to stop criminal traffickers from taking advantage of the pandemic to exploit the vulnerable,” said UNODC Executive Director Gheada Waly.

“The UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2020, coupled with the technical assistance UNODC provides through its global programmes and field network, aims to inform governments’ anti-trafficking responses, end impunity, and support victims as part of integrated efforts to build forward from the pandemic.”

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