In 2008 the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) described the lack of information on human trafficking as the footsteps of a beast. The footsteps can give you guesses at its size or the scope of its influence, but it doesn’t tell you the truth about its shape or weaknesses.
In 2016 the UN published a collection of data covering ten years of human trafficking. This was a success towards bringing down this monster.
There have been some interesting changes to human trafficking statistics. Although many believe this is growth of knowledge rather than a huge change in numbers.
According to new information human trafficking has doubled from 30,961 people in 2008 to 66,520 in 2016. Trafficked men increased from 13 to 21 percent from 2004 to 2014. Child trafficking increased overall from 13 percent in 2004 to 28 percent in 2014. However this is down from 32 percent in 2012. Also an understanding of domestic trafficking (those who don’t leave the country) has come in at about 42 percent.
By recording numbers closely the UN also discovered some new and interesting trends. Human trafficking patterns often follow migration paths. People are sold from a lower income country to a higher income country. Traffickers will often target people of the same language, ethnicity, nationality, and gender. This has added to the acknowledgement of women as traffickers. About 37 percent of trafficking convictions were women, with higher percentage of about 58 percent in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia regions.
Thinking of those trapped in human trafficking is heart wrenching, but these numbers gives shape to the monster at large. With the new human trafficking statistics there is now a better understanding of what to look for and how to seek resolution.
written by Natasha Komen