Luis Lidón |
Vienna (EFE) authorities.
This is one of the main conclusions of the Global Report on Trafficking 2022 of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which has been released in recent hours in Vienna.
Less victims detected
The number of victims detected worldwide decreased by 11% in 2020 compared to the previous year, due to the decrease in people released from mafias in developing countries.
Lockdowns imposed during the pandemic have hidden trafficking victims and weakened the ability of police to free them from their exploiters.
“This latest report shows how the pandemic has increased vulnerability to human trafficking, further weakening capacities to rescue victims and bring criminals to justice,” said Ghada Waly, Director of UNODC.
“We cannot allow crises to aggravate exploitation. The United Nations and the donor community need to support national authorities, especially in developing countries, to respond to the threats of trafficking,” he added.
Almost 28 million people affected
Trafficking is a crime that consists of capturing and retaining a person to exploit them sexually or for work.
Although the best known form is sexual exploitation, other victims suffer conditions of slavery in domestic tasks, agriculture or are even forced to practice child begging or subjected to forced marriages.
The report covers 141 countries and analyzes the cases of almost 190,000 victims detected between 2017 and 2021. Although the UNODC does not offer estimates on total victims of trafficking, the International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that almost 28 million people in the world suffer this crime.
“Traffickers take advantage of the most vulnerable. Many millions of people have been left behind when crises have reversed progress in the development of countries,” Waly said, warning that poverty and trafficking are linked.
The victims whose identification was reduced the most were those who suffered sexual exploitation, the most common form of trafficking and which mainly affects women and girls.
In 2020, the number of victims detected suffering from sexual exploitation was reduced by 24%, but that, the UN insists, does not mean that there are fewer abuses, but rather that the confinements made many victims “invisible”.
The majority of trafficking victims are women and girls (60%), although detection of male victims has increased in recent years, both men (23%) and boys (17%). They suffer above all labor exploitation and forced labor.
“During the pandemic, fewer cases of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation were detected, as public spaces were closed and this form of trafficking was pushed to more hidden and less secure places,” the report states.
the ukrainian war
The report also underscores that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is increasing cases of trafficking with Ukrainian victims who have fled their country to escape the war.
The UNODC estimates that Ukrainian victims could amount to 5% of the total number of people who fall into trafficking networks in Europe, five times more than before the start of the war in February 2022.
Another novel aspect of the report is that for the first time it is pointed out that climate change is a risk factor for falling into trafficking, since people displaced for that reason are more vulnerable to being exploited.
“In 2021, 23.7 million people have been internally displaced by climate-induced natural disasters,” the report states.
This situation will worsen since in 2050 it is estimated that there will be 216 million internally displaced persons due to climate change.
Globally, the number of convictions for trafficking offenses also decreased by 27% in 2020 from the previous year – with the steepest declines recorded in South Asia (56%), Central America and the Caribbean (54%) and Latin America. of the South (46%) – denounced the UN.
The vast majority of victims of trafficking are identified because they escape by their own means from their exploiters.
This group represents 41% of the cases while in 28% the victims were released by the security forces.