UN re­port says child trafficking on the up

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

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

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