• Globally countries are detecting and reporting more victims, and are convicting more traffickers.
• The trend for the average number of detected and reported victims per country had previously fluctuated during the earlier years for which UNODC has collected this data, but it has been increasing steadily over the last few years.
Still large areas of impunity
• Pronounced increasing trends in the numbers of convictions were recorded in Asia, the Americas, and Africa and the Middle East.
• The increased number of convictions broadly follows the increases in the number of detected and reported victims, which shows that the criminal justice response is reflecting the detection trend.
Key concerns highlighted in this report
• The limited numbers of detected victims and few convictions does not necessarily mean that traffickers are not active in these countries.
• In fact, victims trafficked from subregions with low detection and conviction rates are found in large numbers in other subregions.
• This suggests that trafficking networks operate with a high degree of impunity in these countries.
• This impunity could serve as an incentive to carry out more trafficking.
• More trafficking of domestic victims, while the richest countries are destinations for long-distance flows
• Traffickers are mainly targeting women and girls
• Main forms of exploitation and profiles of detected victims in subregions
• Armed conflicts can drive vulnerabilities to trafficking in persons
• There has been an overall increase in the detection of victims of trafficking in persons across the world in recent years.
• This growth can reflect positive and negative developments in the fight against trafficking in persons as it can be a sign of enhanced efforts by authorities to identify victims and/or a larger trafficking problem.
• Where the number of detected victims has increased after legislative or programmatic action, however, these actions – including amendments to legislation, enforcement of welldesigned action plans, victim protection schemes and national referral mechanisms – have clearly contributed to improving the identification of victims and the effectiveness of criminal justice responses.
The UNODC Handbook guidance in three main areas:
• Preventing child recruitment by terrorist and violent extremist groups;
• Identifying effective justice responses to children recruited and exploited by such groups, whether they are in contact with the justice system as victims, witnesses or alleged offenders; and
• Promoting the rehabilitation and reintegration of those children.
Addressing the problem
• The UN Sustainable Development Agenda. Monitoring progress to achieve the targets related to trafficking in persons in the framework of the SDGs calls on countries to report the number of trafficking victims per 100,000 population, by sex, age and form of exploitation.
• Going beyond the counting of detected victims, to cover the victims that are not detected, is a challenge in reporting on this indicator.
• UNODC has successfully tested a new, innovative methodology – Multiple Systems Estimation in four countries in Europe.
• The application of MSE offers countries a sound and cost-effective means of estimating the total number of victims (detected and not detected) and report on the SDG indicator.
• Scaling up the implementation of this methodology across the world will foster a more comprehensive and solid understanding of the level and trends of the trafficking problem.
Mains Paper 2: International Relations
Prelims level: Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2018
Mains level: Report published by the UNODC