UNODC launched Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2022

UNODC report 2022

This week, UNODC launched its 2022 edition of the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons. The report reveals that for the first time in 20 years, a decrease has been noted in the number of victims detected globally and that also prosecution figures decreased. However statistics for Europe differ significantly with other parts of the world. In Europe, there were increases in the detection of victims, relating in particular to detection of labour exploitation of men. In some parts of Europe, sexual exploitation is no longer the highest identified form of human trafficking.

The report provides a snapshot of trafficking trends detected during the pandemic, with a focus on recent changes to historic detection and conviction patterns. Official statistics on cases of trafficking in persons detected between 2017 and 2021 were globally collected from 141 countries and the findings were further informed and augmented through analysis of 800 court case summaries.

The report distinguishes between three subregions for Europe. In all three; Central and South Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia and Western Europe. In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, numbers on the identification of victims increased with about 9 per cent. ­Here, fewer victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation were recorded (-30 per cent in comparison with 2019). A drop in the identification of female victims trafficked for sexual exploitation accounted for the largest proportion of this decrease. Compared to 2019, and against this decreasing trend, more male victims (men and boys) and more victims in forced labour were identified in 2020. In Eastern Europe victims comprised for 63% of men and 24% of women.

In Central and South-Eastern Europe a continued increase was also noted in the detection of victims. In 2020, persons trafficked for the purpose of forced labour made up a larger share of all the victims detected in this region compared to the past. However, here trafficking for sexual exploitation remains the primary form that national authorities uncover. Compared to the year before, a higher prevalence of foreigners, as well as men and boys, were detected as victims.

In Western and Southern Europe, increased detection of domestic trafficking (within one country) was noted and a decrease in prosecutions and convictions. While detection of victims increased, there was a relative decline in the proportion of cases of tra­cking for sexual exploitation identified (-40 per cent), as compared to trafficking for labour exploitation. ­On the other hand, more trafficked men, boys, and girls were detected. More victims were trafficked for the purposes of forced criminality, and for mixed forms of exploitation. As a result, for the first time, more male victims (men and boys) were detected compared to women and girls and an increased share of the victims identified were children. Children accounted for more than 40 per cent of the total victims detected. While the number of investigations reported during this period was higher than in previous years, fewer prosecutions and convictions took place in this region in 2020 than in any of the previous three years.