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Sierra Leone News: 59% of trafficked people are for sexual exploitation

The number of human trafficking victims around the world is on the rise while armed groups and terrorists are trafficking women and children to recruit and generate funds, according to the latest Global Report on “Trafficking in Persons.” The 2018 report, released by the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on Monday, revealed that more victims of human trafficking were reported to the United Nation’s agency in 2016 than at any time over the past 13 years. The report said, globally, countries are detecting and reporting more victims and convicting more traffickers. The report also finds a clear increase in the number of children being trafficked, who now account for 30% of all detected victims, with far more girls detected than boys. Sexual exploitation continues to be main purpose for trafficking accounting for some 59%. A trend analysis on the number of trafficking convictions shows that globally, these have clearly increased over the last seven years. In some countries, however, even though the trend is increasing, the number of convictions remains very low. There appears to be hardly any risk for traffickers to face justice. Adult women comprised nearly half of the detected victims in 2016. Men and girls were detected in similar proportions; each profile accounted for about one fifth of the detected victims. The analysis of the data on trafficking victims shows that over the last 15 years, women and girls together continued to represent more than 70% of detected trafficking victims. The limited information available for Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal and Pakistan reveals that female victims accounted for 59% of the total detected victims. Detections of boys are limited. Overall, almost equal proportions of men, women and children are detected. Amongst the detected trafficking victims in 2016, 37% are men. It says that increased number of victim detected may indicate that more trafficking is taking place or that countries are making use of more efficient tools and procedures to identify trafficking victims. According to the report, while severity is difficult to measure, an assessment of the evolution of national anti–trafficking responses can shed light on the driver of these rising numbers. The exact measures vary between countries, but generally, they include creation or revision of relevant legislation, adoption of national action plans on human trafficking, strengthening of investigative and or prosecutorial coordination and capacity, classification of trafficking as a grave criminal offence or measures to identify, protect and support victims of trafficking. For many of the countries that recorded increasing trends, some of the institutional responses can be related to the increase. In particular, most of the increases coincided with or followed shortly after one or more of these anti-trafficking measures were introduced. An increase in the number of victim detections can also reflect an actual increase in the severity of trafficking in persons; particularly in countries where anti-trafficking institutions and legal frameworks have been in place for a long time. What emerges from the analysis however, is that when countries did not enhance their anti-trafficking action, the number of detected victims tended to decline. As for other forms of exploitation, trafficking for removal of organs remains very limited in terms of the number of detected victims. About 100 victims of trafficking for organ removal were detected and reported to the UNODC between 2014 and 2017.

MJB/10/1/19

By Mohamed J. Bah

Friday January 11, 2019.

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