United Nations: A UN report has found that nearly three-quarters of all human trafficking victims are women and girls and that trafficked men and boys are typically used as forced labourers, soldiers and slaves.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime's report also found that children comprise nearly a third of trafficking victims worldwide.
UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov, who launched the report at UN headquarters, said trafficking for sexual exploitation and forced labour remain the most prominently detected forms of the crime, but victims have also been trafficked to be used as beggars, for forced or sham marriages, benefit fraud or producing pornography, he said.
Victims are "tortured, extorted and even trafficked for organ removal in some African routes," Fedotov said. The report comes a day after the UN Security Council unanimously approved a first-ever draft resolution on the issue and debated the links between human trafficking and conflict zones.
The resolution asks that countries that have not yet done so fully implement the UN's trafficking in persons protocol and improve efforts to investigate and dismantle trafficking networks. It also calls on member nations to do more to establish procedures to identify victims and provide protection and assistance for them.
Fedotov said during the Security Council debate that trafficking victims have been detected in 106 different countries and territories worldwide. However, he said, 158 countries have criminalised most forms of the practice in line with UN protocol up from 2003, when only 18 per cent of countries had such laws on their books.
France's UN Ambassador Francois Delattre said the Security Council for the first time clearly established that the link between trafficking in persons, sexual violence and terrorism in situations in conflict constitutes a "threat to international peace and security." Although the resolution provides tools to act, he said more needs to be done in finding ways to respond to the crime, including the possibility of sanctions.
The report links armed groups to human trafficking, documenting how these groups often engage in trafficking in their territories of operation, coercing women and girls into marriages or sexual slavery, and pressing men and boys to act as forced labour or combatants.
The report's researchers found more than 500 different trafficking flows, or routes, with 42 per cent of them located inside a single country's own borders.
Yesterday's report found that although 28 per cent of trafficking victims worldwide are children, it is much more in other regions, such as Sub-Saharan Africa and Central America and the Caribbean, where children comprise 62 per cent and 64 per cent of victims, respectively.