By Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star), Dec. 23, 2016
MANILA, Philippines – Children make up almost a third of all human trafficking victims worldwide, while women and girls comprise 71 percent, according to a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report.
Based on the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, women and girls tend to be trafficked for marriage and sexual slavery while men and boys are typically exploited for forced labor in the mining sector and as porters, soldiers and slaves.
UNODC executive director Yury Fedotov said “trafficking for sexual exploitation and for forced labor remain the most prominently detected forms, but victims are also being trafficked to be used as beggars, for forced or sham marriages, benefit fraud or production of pornography.”
While 28 percent of detected trafficking victims worldwide are children, 64 percent was reported in regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa and Central America and 62 percent in the Caribbean.
Fedotov emphasized the link between armed groups and human trafficking, noting how armed groups often engage in trafficking in their territories of operation, coercing women and girls into marriages or sexual slavery, and pressing men and boys to forced labor or becoming combatants.
Data included in the report revealed that trafficking in persons and regular migration flows broadly resemble each other for some destination countries in different parts of the world.
Factors that increase vulnerability to human trafficking during the migration process include the presence of transnational organized crime in the country of origin and a person’s socio-economic profile.
The report also includes information on the multitude of trafficking flows, including within countries, between neighboring countries or even across different continents. More than 500 different examples of these flows were detected between 2012 and 2014. Mention is made, for example, of trafficking victims from countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia, who are trafficked to a wide range of destinations.
“Some (158), or (88) percent, of countries have criminalized human trafficking, in line with the Protocol (to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons),” Fedotov said.
“This is a huge improvement since 2003, when only (18) percent of countries had such laws on their books. Nevertheless, as we highlighted in the last report, the rate of conviction remains far too low, and victims are not always receiving the protection and services countries are obliged to provide,” Fedotov said.