The campaign for World Day Against Trafficking in Persons 2023 aims to raise awareness of disturbing developments and trends identified by UNODC and calls on governments, law enforcement, public services, and civil society to assess and enhance their efforts to strengthen prevention, identify and support victims, and end impunity.
Global crises, conflicts, and the climate emergency are escalating trafficking risks. Displacement and socio-economic inequalities are impacting millions of people worldwide, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation by traffickers. Those who lack legal status, live in poverty, have limited access to education, healthcare, or decent work, face discrimination, violence, or abuse, or come from marginalized communities are often the primary targets of traffickers.
Globally, national responses, particularly in developing States, appear to be deteriorating. Detection rates fell by 11% in 2020 and convictions plummeted by 27%, illustrating a worldwide slowdown in the criminal justice response to trafficking. The COVID-19 pandemic also changed the characteristics of trafficking, pushing it further underground and potentially increasing the dangers to victims by making the crime less likely to come to the attention of the authorities. In fact, 41% of victims who manage to escape their ordeal reach out to the authorities on their own initiative – another clear sign that anti-trafficking responses are falling short.
“Leave no one behind” is the central, transformative promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In the context of trafficking in persons, leaving people behind means
At the implementation mid-point of the 2030 Agenda and ahead of the SDG Summit 2023 this year, it is crucial to raise awareness and reinforce global commitments to eliminate trafficking in persons as specifically mentioned in SDG 5, 8 and 16.
States must improve their efforts to implement the Trafficking in Persons Protocol to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, including by strengthening national frameworks for the identification and protection of victims of trafficking, especially during times of crises.