UN finds low numbers of people trafficked, according to new report

According to the 2022 United Nations Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, the number of people detected to have been trafficked decreased by 11% last year. It’s his first decline in 20 years, but one of the report’s authors says it’s not necessarily encouraging.

“We’re not really seeing a decline in human trafficking. We’re seeing a decline in the ability of authorities to find victims,” ​​said Angela Mee, head of research at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Globally, the number of trafficking convictions decreased by 27% in 2020 from the previous year. Sharp declines of 56% were recorded in South Asia, 54% in Central America and the Caribbean, and 46% in South America.

On February 1st, I participated in a panel discussion hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and presented a new report.

Joining me are Ilias Chatsis, Chief of the Human and Migrant Smuggling Section of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and Desiree Chatsis, Senior Coordinator for Reporting and Political Affairs for the Office of Monitoring and Combating Trafficking in Persons at the U.S. Department of State. It was Suo Weimont. .

Epoch Times photo
An alleged human trafficking gang member sits on the courtroom floor after being arrested in Guatemala City on October 24, 2022. (Johan Ordonez/AFP via Getty Images)

I said it was a disturbing finding that the majority of victims released from trafficking situations were “self-rescued”. That is, they could find help themselves.

Waymont said if the other stats didn’t change, they should. Law enforcement, medical and frontline personnel should be better able to recognize and deal with trafficking victims, Waymont said.

“The recommended best practice is that[victims]don’t have to,” she said.

Panelists said the COVID-19 pandemic was an important factor in reducing the number of detected trafficked persons. They said the lockdown and associated activities have made it more difficult to find people who have been trafficked and have changed the way traffickers operate.

I pointed out that all sorts of criminal activity may go undetected.

Human Trafficking Similar to Slavery

Chatzis said it is important to understand what human trafficking is. He said many immediately associate human trafficking with moving people from one country to another for illegal purposes. He said, but the movement of illegal immigrants is smuggling.

Epoch Times photo
An illegal immigrant wears two wristbands used by Mexican cartels to control the smuggling of people into the United States near Penitas, Texas on March 15, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/Epoch Times)

Human trafficking is akin to slavery, where people are exploited for forced labor, crime, and even organ harvesting.

Most of the victims reported in 2004 were women involved in sex trafficking. But over time, as more was learned about the practice, the numbers began to change.

In 2004 the United Nations reported that 74% of victims were women and 26% were men and children. According to the latest reports, 58% of victims are men and children, and 42% are women. Waymont said gender norms and stereotypes may have influenced the definition of human trafficking over the past few years.

She noted that in many cultures, men were expected to do more dangerous and physically demanding work in society. In some cases, local governments facilitated exploitation.

Smugglers often use deception and intimidation to force victims into working whether they want to or not. She said the government should take a closer look at labor laws and practices.

“There is still work to be done on labor trafficking and labor migration,” she said.

disasters create opportunities

In addition to pandemics, panelists said that disasters, both natural and man-made, set the stage for human trafficking.

Chatzis said the UN has a keen interest in the current situation in Ukraine. The country was already an active trafficking center, especially for women. Yet, whenever a refugee population is present, the area becomes a prime hunting ground for human traffickers.

Refugees often have lost everything and struggle to survive. This places them in the high-risk population. The Panel also accused climate change of exacerbating the problem. Many blame climate change for storms and other natural disasters that displace thousands of people each year.

Panelists said that countries need to strengthen their cooperation to address this issue effectively. Chatsis said developing countries must focus on sharing information and dealing with traffickers.

“The most important thing is cross-border cooperation,” Chatzis said.