UN report says child trafficking on the up
VIENNA: A third of human trafficking victims are children, and their proportion of the total number has been rising, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reported yesterday.
An estimated 33 percent of all detected human trafficking victims were underage in the report, which covered the period from 2010 to 2012.
That was 5 percentage points higher than between 2007 and 2010.
The problem is most acute in Africa and the Middle East, where the majority of trafficked people were boys and girls, the UN agency stated.
However, the crime is a global phenomenon.
UNODC has collected information about victims from 152 countries who have been forced into sex work, manual labour and other activities in 124 countries.
South and South-east Asians represent a large proportion of the victims in the Middle East, while a large share of victims in North America come from East Asia.
In western Europe, eastern Europeans and West Africans are most likely to be exploited.
Traffickers mostly target women and girls. Sexual exploitation is the most common form of abuse that victims have to endure.
UNODC said people were increasingly taken into other countries to work as labourers.
The number of children who are forced to fight as soldiers, beg or commit petty crimes abroad was also on the rise.
The pattern of the crime varies greatly between regions.
“In South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific, trafficking for forced labour is the major detected form of trafficking, as it accounts for nearly two-thirds of the detected victims,” the report said.
In those regions, 23 percent of victims trafficked for forced labour were men, while 77 percent were women.
In sub-Saharan Africa, sexual exploitation is the dominant reason for trafficking.
Although most countries have laws that ban human trafficking, it is rarely prosecuted.
“As a result, the number of convictions globally has remained extremely low,” UNODC chief Yuri Fedotov said.
Between 2010 and 2012, about 40 percent of countries reported no or few convictions annually.
“Official data reported to UNODC by national authorities represents only what has been detected. It is very clear that the scale of modern-day slavery is far worse,” Fedotov said. – Sapa-dpa