10 Years of the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons – General Assembly appraises the UN Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons

Abuja, 24 November 2021-Data provides the backbone of the international community’s response to trafficking in persons. It is decisive to understand how traffickers operate, the profiles of victims at risk of being targeted as well as how flows differentiate across continents. For more than a decade, UNODC Research has published the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, which has served as one of the primary vehicles for informing policy and interventions as well as highlighting protection needs.

Yesterday, UNODC convened a side-event in the High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly for the Appraisal of the UN Global Plan of Action to Combat Human Trafficking. The event reiterated that trafficking in persons can occur in every region of the world and can take many forms. Women and children, particularly girls, are amongst the most vulnerable persons to be trafficked, especially for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Social media and online platforms are increasingly used by traffickers to identify and recruit victims and advertise services provided by victims. The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened economic and social inequalities that are among the root causes of human trafficking.

In his opening remarks, the President of the General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid, said:

“As we recover better from a devastating pandemic, we must look ahead to a safer, more just, and more equitable future. Human Trafficking must not be a part of that future.”

Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, stressed that “invigorated global action” against human trafficking is needed now more than ever “as economic hardship conflict and health and climate emergencies are increasing and compounding the vulnerabilities to trafficking exploitation and abuse”.

In her message, UNODC Executive Director, Ghada Waly, referred to the meeting as an “important opportunity” for countries to take stock of achievements under the Global Plan of Action, identify gaps, and pledge to ensure that joint responses are adapted to the needs of victims.

One of the main topics involved bridging the policy and evidence divide. While much has been learned over the years, there are several blind spots, especially in connection to the institutional responses and “what works”. While increasing evidence and data guide our understanding of the crime, additional efforts are needed to make sure that more effective anti-trafficking responses are informed by this growing knowledge base.

According to the Director General of Nigeria’s National Agency for the Prohibition Against Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Dr. Fatima Waziri-Azi, there is an acute need for expanding the evidence base on trafficking in persons tied to Africa:

“To better prevent and combat this crime and its complex and ever evolving dynamics, reliable, sufficient and up-to date data can provide the critical answers. Collection, analysis and reporting of data on Trafficking in Persons remain a strategic priority for NAPTIP”.

As backdrop to the discussions, the Global Report was presented to provide an update on the current trafficking situation. UNODC has been gathering evidence on the crime for more than a decade and currently hosts the world’s largest database on victims and perpetrators of the crime. Solid research facilitates the progress in combatting the crime with more countries convicting traffickers, as well as reporting on the crime.

The Global Report is one of the flagship publications of the UNODC. Over the years, it has addressed pertinent topics such as the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, armed conflict and the role of technology. UNODC Research also provides technical assistance to Member States to increase their data collection, analysis and national reporting capacities.

Link to the Global Report: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/data-and-analysis/glotip.html