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Human trafficking takes on 'horrific dimensions'; almost a third of victims are children: UN report

Press Trust of India  |  United Nations 

Trafficking victims from South Asian countries including are detected in many parts of Europe, according to a new UN report that said has taken "horrific dimensions" with children accounting for a third of those being trafficked.

The 'Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2018' from the UN Office on Drugs and (UNODC) draws on information from 142 countries, examining trafficking trends and patterns.

The report said is taking on "horrific dimensions", with sexual exploitation of victims the main Children now account for 30 per cent of those being trafficked, and far more girls are detected than boys.

Victims from South (and South-West Asia) are also detected in many parts of Western and They account for about 5 per cent of the total detected victims in this subregion.

"Victims are trafficked from most South Asian countries, including Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, and to a limited extent also from and Victims from have been detected in the Nordic countries, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, it said.

The report further said that as an origin area for trafficking to the rest of the world, victims from South have been detected in more than 40 countries around the world. The main destinations appear to be the countries of the in the To a lesser extent, victims from South have been detected in Western and and in Victims from - and - have also been detected in South-

Based on the limited information available for Bangladesh, Maldives, and Pakistan, female victims in this sub-region account for 59 per cent of the total detected victims.

UNODC said said that "has taken on horrific dimensions as armed groups and terrorists use it to spread fear and gain victims to offer as incentives to recruit new fighters," citing child soldiers, forced labour and sexual slavery as examples.

While the average numbers of reported victims had fluctuated during the earlier years for which UNODC had collected data, the global trend has shown a steady increase since 2010.

Asia and the are the regions which have seen the largest increase in the numbers of victims detected, which may be explained by improved methods of detecting, recording and reporting data on trafficking or a real increase in the number of victims.

Most victims of trafficking detected outside their region of origin are from East Asia, followed by sub-Saharan Africa: whilst there has been an increase in the number of convictions for trafficking in these regions, the study concluding that large areas of impunity still exist in many Asian and African countries, and conviction rates for trafficking remain very low.

Trafficking for sexual exploitation is the most prevalent form in European countries, whilst in and the Middle East, forced labour is the main factor driving the illicit trade.

Women and girls make up most trafficking victims worldwide: almost three-quarters of them are trafficked for sexual exploitation, and 35 per cent (women and girls) are trafficked for forced labour.

The main focus of the report is on the impact of armed conflict on trafficking. In conflict zones, where the rule of law is weak, and civilians have little protection from crime, armed groups and criminals may take the opportunity to traffic them. One example given in the study is the phenomenon of girls and young women in refugee camps in the being "married off" without their consent and subjected to sexual exploitation in neighbouring countries.

Addressing human trafficking is a key part of the UN Sustainable Development Agenda, requiring Member States to monitor progress in tackling the problem, and report the number of victims by sex, age and form of exploitation.

However, significant gaps in knowledge remain, with many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and some parts of still lacking sufficient capacity to record and share data on trafficking in persons. "This report shows that we need to step up technical assistance and strengthen cooperation, to support all countries to protect victims and bring criminals to justice, and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals," Fedotov said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, January 08 2019. 11:05 IST