Reducing Demand for Sexual Exploitation of Trafficking Victims in South-Eastern Europe: Commitment to Comprehensive Action

27-28 April 2023, Dubrovnik, Croatia: Among the main findings of the 2022 UNODC Global Report on trafficking in persons the number of detected victims of human trafficking falls for the first time in 20 years as pandemic limits opportunities and potentially pushes trafficking further underground, while constraining law enforcement capacities to target the crime and the trafficking for sexual exploitation is less detected during the pandemic.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) supports South-Eastern Europe (SEE) in preventing and addressing, the demand that fuels human trafficking, affecting especially women and girls, and strengthen measures to deter exploiters of trafficked persons and ensure their accountability.

To support these efforts, UNODC in collaboration with the Directorate for Human Rights, National Minorities and Ethics of the Government of Croatia, the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs of France and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, held a regional conference on Improving response to trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation, especially women and girls, through addressing demand in the South-Eastern Europe.

The regional conference brought together 51 professionals from countries/territories of origin, transit and destination from the broader region of SEE to analyze the current trends, challenges and good practices in addressing the demand that fuels trafficking in persons for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The participants discussed the limitations and benefits of various national anti-demand approaches through focused strategies, including by adopting appropriate legislative or other educational, social or cultural measures aimed to address the demand and combat the root cause of human trafficking.

This activity contributes to SDG 16, particularly Target 16.2 to end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children.