According to the 2022 US Trafficking in Persons report, last year over 90,000 victims of trafficking were identified, more than 10,000 cases were prosecuted and 5,000 were convicted.
Despite significant advancements to address this distressing phenomenon, our work is far from over.
Today, as we mark World Day against Trafficking in Persons, I want to commend States on the progress made to combat this crime, and I call on them to reinforce their ongoing efforts, further capitalizing on the opportunities that new technology brings to address the crime.
Traffickers are increasingly using technology to abuse and exploit people. Online recruitment and abuse of migrants has sharply increased since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Governments can also utilize technology — and must do so – to end this crime, conducting investigations and operations in cyberspace in line with human rights standards, as well as better identify and protect victims and survivors.
As a long-standing member of the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons, and together with the UN Network on Migration, IOM calls on all States to harness the immense potential that technology offers in countering trafficking in persons.
Technological developments can also help us learn more about trafficking in persons, and help alert potential victims, as exemplified by IOM’s Counter-Trafficking Data Collaborative, the CTDC.
According to the CTDC, over half of the 150,000 victims identified by IOM and partners worldwide were trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation, while most of the others were trafficked for the purpose of forced labour.
Tragically, over a quarter of all victims identified were trafficked as children and a further quarter were young adults under the age of 24.
IOM is committed to prevent and combat trafficking in persons through international cooperation in line with the commitments contained in the IMRF progress declaration.
I am convinced that if we join efforts, we will be able to leverage technology to protect victims and end trafficking in persons.