Crime & Justice

Russian invasion of Ukraine increases trafficking threat: UN

Vienna, Jan 24 (EFE).- The Russian invasion of Ukraine is increasing the risk of human trafficking in Europe, the United Nations warned in a report published Tuesday.

“We know that conflict is a risk factor for trafficking because conflict puts people in vulnerable places, they can easily be exploited by traffickers,” Angela Me, one of the lead authors of the 2022 report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime UNODC, told Efe.

The majority of recorded trafficking victims in 2022 hailed from sub-Saharan Africa, but Europe also saw an uptick with a return of war to the continent.

“We had seen, when in 2014 there was also a conflict situation in Ukraine, how that triggered more victims of trafficking entering Europe from Ukraine, so that time the size of the people fleeing Ukraine was much smaller.

“With five to six million today going outside of Ukraine to look for refuge, then clearly the size of the risk of people being put in vulnerable situations where traffickers could easily exploit them to become trafficking victims is clearly very high.”

The UNODC has called for trafficking victims to have greater access to services and humanitarian support.

The UN report analyzed data on nearly 190,000 victims of trafficking detected globally between 2017 and 2020.

The report warned that fewer victims of trafficking were being detected despite the Covid-19 pandemic and other crises. The number of detected victims fell by 11% in 2020, it added.

“We cannot allow crises to compound exploitation. The UN and the donor community need to support national authorities, most of all in developing countries, to respond to trafficking threats, and to identify and protect victims especially in states of emergency,” said UNODC executive director Ghada Waly.EFE


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