2022 Assembly


UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2022


“Crises shift trafficking patterns and hinder victim identification”

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s 2022 report reviews patterns in the data about trafficking in persons, gathered between 2017 and 2021, from 141 countries. 

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on human trafficking is under scrutiny in the report, which notes a fall in the number of detected victims for the first time in 20 years. However, it warns that these figures are likely to represent a decline in the ability of authorities to detect victims during the crisis, rather than a fall in the actual number of victims, although certain trafficking operations may have been disrupted.

The majority of identified victims were ‘self-rescued’; they escaped and sought help from authorities of their own volition. Law enforcement-initiated cases and rescues on the other hand are rarer. This finding is cause for alarm, since it has long been documented that many trafficking victims do not identify themselves as such, due to the psychological impact of their circumstances. If law enforcement are rescuing victims in smaller numbers than those who manage to independently reach safety, many more are likely going unidentified and their abuse is ongoing.

It was found that climate change and conflict are both factors increasing the risks to those vulnerable to traffickers.

A higher proportion of detected victims were male, attributable to growth in new forms of exploitation, however women and children suffered greater amounts of violence from their exploiters.

More insight and detailed breakdowns and visualisations of the data can be found in the global report, which can be accessed here in the RENATE website library, in addition to the UNODC website.

Read UN Office on Drugs and Crime Press Release