Human trafficking around the world

Published Publication date 29.07.2013

Trafficking in persons is a global crime affecting nearly all countries in every region of the world. According to Global Report on Trafficking in Persons from 2012, published by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)1, between 2007 and 2010 at least 136 different nationalities were trafficked and detected in 118 different countries. The International Labour Organization estimates that around 21 million people are victims of forced labour globally. This estimate also includes victims of human trafficking for labour and sexual exploitation. One of the most worrying trends is the increase in child victims. From 2003-2006, 20 per cent of all detected victims were children. Between 2007 and 2010, the percentage of child victims had risen to 27 per cent. Another worrying aspect is the low conviction rates. According to the Report, the conviction rates for trafficking are the same level as rare crimes such as homicides in Iceland or kidnapping in Norway. Notably, of the 132 countries covered, 16 per cent did not record a single conviction between 2007 and 2010.

The data coming out of the Report show some global tendencies in this field:

  • Women account for 55-60 per cent of all trafficking victims detected globally; women
    and girls together account for about 75 per cent;

  • In general, trafficker tend to be adult males and nationals of the country in which they operate, but more women and foreign nationals are involved in trafficking persons than I most other crimes;

  • Trafficking for sexual exploitation is more common in Europe, Central Asia and the Americas. Trafficking for forced labour is mote frequently detected in Africa and the Middle East, as well as in South and East Asia and the Pacific;

  • Trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation accounts for 85 per cent of all trafficking cases detected globally, while trafficking for forced labour accounts for 36 per cent and for begging – about 1,5 per cent;

  • Approximately 460 different trafficking flows were identified between 2007 and 2010. Almost half of victims detected worldwide were trafficked across borders within their region of origin. Some 24 per cent were trafficked interregionally, whereas 27 per cent of all detected cases were recorded in domestic countries;

  • The Middle Eat is the region reporting the greatest proportion of victims trafficked from other regions (70 per cent). Victims from the largest number of origin countries were detected in Western and Central Europe;

  • The trafficking flow origination in East Asia remains the most prominent transnational flow globally;

  • Victims from Eastern Europe, Central Asia and South America were detected in a wide range of countries within and outside their region of origin;

  • Almost all human trafficking flows originating in Africa are either intraregional (with Africa and the Middle East as their destination) or directed towards Western Europe.

  • One hundred and thirty-four countries and territories worldwide have criminalized trafficking by means of specific offence in line with the Trafficking Persons Protocol.

1 Source of information: The Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2012, published by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime < http://www.unodc.org/unodc/data-and-analysis/glotip.html>