The number of identified human trafficking victims globally fell 11 percent in 2020 from the previous year, driven by “fewer detections in low- and middle-income countries,” according to the report published by the Vienna-based United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). .
She added that in addition to reducing human traffickers’ employment opportunities, the pandemic may have weakened law enforcement’s capabilities to detect victims.
The report, which is based on data from 141 countries, also showed a decrease in the number of cases of trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation during the health crisis.
She added that the restrictions brought on by the pandemic may have pushed such crimes to “more hidden and less secure places”.
The number of people convicted of human trafficking globally also decreased by 27 percent in 2020 compared to 2019, with sharper declines recorded in South Asia, Central America, the Caribbean and South America.
UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly said in a statement that the pandemic has “increased vulnerability to human trafficking, further undermining capacities to rescue victims and bring offenders to justice.”
It called on the United Nations and the donor community to support national authorities, particularly those in developing countries, to respond to trafficking threats and to identify and protect victims.
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