Global Report on Trafficking in Persons

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

This is the fifth global report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), mandated by the General Assembly through the 2010 Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons. The report draws on data from 148 countries and explores issues of particular relevance in the current crisis, including the impact of socio-economic factors, drivers of child trafficking and trafficking for forced labour, and traffickers’ use of the internet.

Relevant excerpts include:

"Court cases collected by UNODC include examples of traffickers targeting children who had no parental care. The absence of a family is particularly prevalent in the cases of children trafficked for sexual exploitation, but also reported in cases of trafficking for begging and forced criminal activity. Some court cases in European countries reveal that traffickers specifically targeted 'girls who had lived in orphanages'. Similarly, a study on trafficking in persons in Sri Lanka indicated that traffickers target children deprived of parental care for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The absence of a family also has an economic connotation as these children have find a way to survive on their own. In a court case reported by the Dominican Republic, for instance, authorities reported a girl without parents, living in extreme poverty with no fixed home, as an easy target for a trafficker who sexually exploited her. Homeless children are present in many urban areas of the world struggling on the streets, sometimes in a trafficking-like situation. Traffickers may target street children for sexual exploitation or forced criminal activity in exchange for food, clothing, shelter, or other basic survival needs.

Field studies conducted in West Africa revealed the situation of some boys and girls, mostly teenagers, trafficked into sexual exploitation to cover basic needs for food and for a place to sleep. Between 13 and 28 per cent of these children experienced the death of their parents, and between 30 and 80 per cent were not living with their parents.

Children deprived of parental care in migratory situations face the same risks. Unaccompanied and separated children migrating, often along irregular migration routes, are exposed to traffickers, both along the route and upon arrival in transit and destination countries."


"Another practice that has been found to affect the risk of child trafficking is the sending of boys, and in some limited cases, girls, to residential religious schools. In North and West Africa, some child trafficking for the purpose of forced begging have been linked to this practice. Cases of religious teachers (called marabouts or mallams) forcing students (referred to as talibe or almajiris) to beg have been reported by international organizations. There are several reasons behind this widespread and complex phenomenon. Many studies indicate the need of poor households to provide some form of education, pressure on some of the boys to send additional money to their families, and the demand among families for some education for their children."