Yury Fedotov

Director General/Executive Director


Remarks at the launch of the 2014 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons

24 November 2014


Ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for coming for the launch of the 2014 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons.

Unfortunately, what the report shows is that there is no place in the world where children, women and men are safe from human trafficking.

Victims holding citizenship from one hundred and fifty-two different countries were found in 124 countries between 2010 and 2012.

It should be further kept in mind that official data reported to UNODC by national authorities represent only what has been detected. It is very clear that the scale of modern-day slavery is far worse.

Furthermore, the report shows that while human trafficking is far too common all over the world, there remain far too few consequences for the perpetrators.

This is the second report since the General Assembly entrusted UNODC with this research in 2010 as part of the UN Global Plan of Action to combat human trafficking.

In the time covered by these two reports, from 2007 to 2012, we have seen too little improvement in the overall criminal justice response.

This comes despite the fact that awareness of this crime has improved greatly in this time.

UNODC receives more and more requests from states for technical assistance to strengthen criminal investigations and improve prevention, as well as provide victims with protection and assistance.

Our global programme against human trafficking reached over 1,200 practitioners in more than 70 Member States in 2013 and 2014.

This work is complemented by UNODC field-led programmes in key countries and regions such as Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, the Horn of Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia.

This year, we also marked the first-ever UN World Day against Trafficking in Persons on 30 July with a UNODC social media "thunderclap" campaign that reached more than 5.5 million people around the world.

A charity gala with the Secretary-General at the start of November raised 250,000 dollars from the Austrian private sector for the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons.

This money will go directly to the grassroots organizations that rescue and shelter trafficking victims and help them to reintegrate into society.

As you can see, when people learn about this appalling crime, they are taking action.

Nevertheless, the number of convictions globally has remained extremely low.

Between 2010 and 2012, some 40 per cent of countries reported less than ten convictions per year.

Some 15 per cent of the 128 countries covered in this report did not record a single conviction.

The previous Global Report similarly found that 16 per cent of countries recorded no convictions between 2007 and 2010.

Clearly, a more robust criminal justice response is needed.

The problem is that although more than 90 per cent of countries have legislation criminalizing human trafficking, the legislation does not cover all forms of trafficking and their victims.

Even where suitable legislation is enacted, implementation often falls short.

This low rate of convictions sends the wrong message - victims cannot be assured of protection, while traffickers are reassured that they do not have to answer for their crimes.

Governments need to do more to introduce and implement legislation that is in line with the Protocol against human trafficking.

There needs to be vigorous enforcement and appropriate sanctions for convicted traffickers.

This will make clear that human trafficking is not a low-risk, high-profit activity, but a grave violation that will not be tolerated.

In addition, more attention must be paid to the protection of victims. In this, civil society plays an essential role, complementing state efforts to provide support and help trafficking survivors reintegrate into society.

The particular vulnerability of girls and women, who are most often the victims of traffickers, must also be addressed.

Moreover, this Global Report notes a continued increase in the number of detected child victims, particularly girls under 18.

More than 60 per cent of the victims detected in Africa and the Middle East are children.

Trafficking happens everywhere, but as this report shows, most victims are trafficked close to home, within the region or even in their country of origin, and their exploiters are often fellow citizens.

In some areas, victims are trafficked for armed combat, forced marriage or petty crime. These national and regional specifics must be taken into account if responses are to be tailored and effective.

This is most important when it comes to helping victims, who may be child soldiers or forced beggars, or who may have been enslaved in brothels, fields or sweatshops.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I hope the analysis contained in this report will be useful.

UNODC remains committed to supporting governments in devising more effective responses to this crime, to stop the impunity and protect the vulnerable.   

Thank you.