The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released a report entitled Global Report on Trafficking in Persons (2012) on human trafficking for sexual exploitation and forced labor in 118 countries throughout the world. The report observed that the majority of victims are women, though the percentage of children affected is quickly growing as well.
The report indicated that trafficking for sexual exploitation is most common in Europe, Central Asia, and the Americas while trafficking for forced labor is more often found in Africa, the Middle East, South and East Asia and the Pacific. Other forms of trafficking noted in the study included trafficking for the removal of organs, begging, forced marriage, illegal adoption, participation in armed combat, and committing crimes. These together accounted for just over 6 percent of detected cases in 2010. In contrast, forced labor accounts for 36 percent of trafficking cases and sexual exploitation accounts for 58 percent.
Of the victims detected, women comprised about 55-60 percent. Women and girls together accounted for approximately 75 perfect of victims. The percentage of children affected by human trafficking is growing at a disturbing rate, from 20 percent between 2003-2006 to approximately 27 percent between 2007-2010, according to the report. Of the children detected as involved in human trafficking, two of every three were girls.
134 countries and territories have passed laws that have made trafficking a crime. Although this shows progress in the fight against human trafficking, according to UNODC, progress in getting convictions has been limited. Of the 132 countries covered in the report, 16 percent did not record a single conviction for human trafficking between 2007 and 2010. “Human trafficking requires a forceful response founded on the assistance and protection for victims, rigorous enforcement by the criminal justice system, a sound migration policy and firm regulation of the labor markets,” said UNODC chief Yury Fedotov.