Enrique Restoy, Executive Director of Programmes globally at Hope for Justice, said: “The UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2022 is a harrowing account of a global failure of governments to address human trafficking at a time when the estimated number of people trapped in modern-day slavery has gone up to close to 50 million. The report highlights the devastating impact of COVID on the capacity of states to identify and protect survivors, and to prosecute traffickers. But COVID has only exacerbated an existing trend. Most of the data provided by the report refers to the years prior to 2020, largely before the pandemic had a global impact.
“The report paints a picture of a reduction in the number of cross-border victims being identified; a reduction in the number of victims of sexual exploitation being identified; and a large drop in convictions of perpetrators, which nearly halved between 2017 and 2020.”
Enrique Restoy continued: “The report shows a chilling fact: a large majority of survivors of trafficking get out of their exploitation without the support of law enforcement. Instead they either do it on their own (41%) or with the support of civil society, communities or family. This is why Hope for Justice, and other civil society organisations that are working to end slavery, place such importance on community-based and community-led prevention strategies.
“We observe with great sadness that human trafficking remains heavily gendered. Women are three times more likely to suffer extreme violence during the time they are exploited than men are. But more men than ever are being victimized, and we need more attention on this, as with Hope for Justice’s ‘Men Are Victims’ campaign.”
“We salute the announcement of the next Global Report focusing on Africa. Hope for Justice has a long-lasting commitment to the continent and recognises, like UNODC, that Sub-Saharan Africa needs particular attention. This is because of the lack of data, the impact of COVID on the capacity of countries in the region to respond to human trafficking, and the significant impact of conflict and climate change, which increases the vulnerability of people to human trafficking.”
The UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons has been published since 2009. Mandated by the UN General Assembly to inform an effective response to this crime and place it within the context of the UN Sustainable Development Agenda, the Report draws upon the largest existing dataset on trafficking in persons, with information on the more than 450,000 victims and 300,000 (suspected) offenders detected worldwide between 2003 and 2021.
Images courtesy UNODC