European External Action Service

01/25/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/25/2023 09:45

EU Statement on the launch of the 2022 UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons


EU Statement on the launch of the 2022 UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons

On behalf of the European Union, I would like to welcome the 2022 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons.

The collection of reliable data and data analysis are crucial to identify emerging trends and develop evidence-based policies, especially in crime areas, which are characterised by widespread underreporting, such as trafficking in human beings.

Let me take this opportunity to commend the analysis carried out by UNODC in this Report, which has a global coverage and provides a key resource to UN Member States.

The EU pays particular attention to the quality and accuracy of the data collection. The European Commission has recently proposed to amend the EU Anti-trafficking Directive, which will provide a more solid legal basis for the data collection of a wide range of anti-trafficking indicators in the EU.

The EU does not just look at data collected internally, but also at trafficking in human beings taking place along migration routes towards Europe and at the situation in the main countries of origin and transit of the victims.

There are aspects on which global and EU trends go in the same direction, for instance the increase in the percentage of male victims and in trafficking for purposes other than sexual exploitation, most notably labour exploitation and criminal activities.

As shown in the Report, climate change exacerbates poverty and internal displacement, which increase the vulnerability of populations.

Wars also increase vulnerabilities and represent an opportunity for traffickers to pray on those who flee or suffer the consequences of the conflict. This topic was recently discussed in the context of the annual meeting between the EU Anti-trafficking Coordinator and the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons, of which UNODC acts as the Secretariat and co-chaired in 2022.

The EU acted promptly at the beginning of the Russian Federation's aggression against Ukraine by providing temporary protection to those fleeing the war and developing a common anti-trafficking Plan.

While the refugee flows have slow down, we should remain vigilant as the war goes on. International organisations should continue to cooperate in order to ensure a complementary and mutually reinforcing approach in our anti-trafficking efforts.

2020 was a particular year, as confirmed by the observed trends in trafficking in human beings. Unfortunately, the decrease in the number of identified victims, especially for the purpose of sexual exploitation, and of cross-border trafficking may represent a transitory trend due to the pandemic rather than a lasting victory.

There is clearly room to improve the law enforcement and criminal justice response, as the numbers of investigations, prosecutions and convictions remain low in the EU and worldwide. We should build on our ongoing cooperation and continue to work together to reverse this trend.

In conclusion, let me express our appreciation for the fruitful cooperation in the area of countering trafficking in human beings between UNODC and the EU, in particular with the EU Anti-trafficking Coordinator.