February 1, 2023
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COVID-19 cut known human trafficking, but Ukraine war still a risk: UN

VIENNA — The COVID-19 pandemic led to the primary drop within the known variety of human-trafficking victims in 20 years as trafficking alternatives and policing had been diminished, but the Ukraine war has in all probability now triggered a new surge, a U.N. report stated on Tuesday.

The variety of detected trafficking victims fell 11% in 2020, the latest yr for which information is accessible in most nations, the United Nations Workplace on Medicine and Crime (UNODC) stated in its seventh World Report on Trafficking in Individuals.

“In 2020, for the first time, the number of victims detected globally decreased,” the UNODC stated in a abstract of the report, including that the largest drops had been reported in low- and middle-income nations, significantly in south and central America but additionally sub-Saharan Africa, east Asia and the Pacific area.

“This change in trends could be the result of three different factors affecting especially low- and medium- income countries during the pandemic: lower institutional capacity to detect victims, fewer opportunities for traffickers to operate due to COVID-19 preventive restrictions, and some trafficking forms moving to more hidden and less likely to be detected locations,” it stated.

Preliminary information for 2021 from simply 20 nations suggests a additional fall in 2021 in components of southeast Asia, central America and the Caribbean, it stated.

Trafficking for sexual exploitation noticed the sharpest drop of 24%. For the primary time because the UNODC began gathering information, detected trafficking on this class as a share of the entire was roughly the identical degree as that of trafficking for pressured labor, at round 39% every, the report stated.

“Sexual exploitation may have reduced due to the (pandemic-related) closure of public spaces and it may have also been pushed into less visible and less safe locations, making this form of trafficking more concealed and harder to be detected,” the UNODC stated.

Conflicts have a tendency to extend trafficking and the war in Ukraine is unlikely to be an exception, it added.

“The refugee emergency in Ukraine is elevating risks of trafficking for the Ukrainian displaced population. The 2014 conflict in Ukraine quadrupled the number of Ukrainian victims detected in Western Europe in 2016,” it stated, referring to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

It expects a fair bigger variety of trafficking victims following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine final yr, it added. — Reuters

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