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TitleGlobal Report on Trafficking in Persons 2016
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Page 1

2016

GLOBAL REPORT ON
TRAFFICKING
IN PERSONS

Page 63

59

Human trafficking, migration and conflict II

cross-border trafficking in persons. Victims are trafficked
from many parts of the world, in particular, from South
Asia and East Asia. These are also common origin areas
among migrants in this area. The data from the United
Arab Emirates again confirms that cross-border traffick-
ing flows follow the profile of the foreign workers officially
registered as residing in the country.58

Similar results are also found in destinations for cross-
border trafficking in other parts of the world. As the rich-
est area in South America, the Southern Cone is a regional
destination for migration flows. Trafficking flows into
Argentina broadly resemble the regular migration flows
into this country.59

Broadly similar citizenship profiles were recorded for inter-
national regular migrants and foreign victims of traffick-
ing detected in Argentina between 2011 and 2014.
However, Bolivian citizens, for example, had a signifi-
cantly stronger representation among detected trafficking
victims compared to migration flows.

Like Argentina, Kazakhstan is also a destination, mainly
for regional trafficking in persons. Victims trafficked to
Kazakhstan from other countries are, by and large, citizens
of other Central Asian countries, and to a lesser extent
from East Asia. The citizenship profiles of trafficking vic-
tims is correlated with the profiles of migration flows
recorded during the same period also here.60

Keeping data limitations in mind, the results not only
indicate that detected human trafficking flows tend to
follow the broader migration flows, but also that factors
other than regular migration have an impact on traffick-
ing flows. For instance, in the Western and Southern
European destination countries considered, citizens of
countries in South-Eastern Europe and West Africa com-
prise a large share of the total number of detected traf-
ficking victims, but a relatively small share of recently
arrived regular migrants in Germany, the Netherlands,
Norway and Italy. At the same time, Polish citizens com-
prise a large share of regular migrants moving to these
destinations, while the number of Polish victims of traf-
ficking detected in Germany or the Netherlands is rela-
tively limited.

The situation is similar for Central American citizens
detected as trafficking victims in the United States. Citi-
zens from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador repre-

58 Ibid.
59 Ibid.
60 The details of the analyses and the results are available in Annex

IV (available at www.unodc.org/unodc/en/data-and-analysis/glotip.
html).

sented about 20 per cent of the foreign detected victims
of trafficking in the United States during the period con-
sidered, while the recent regular migration flows into the
United States from these countries is limited to about 5
per cent of the total. Similarly, in Argentina, a relatively
large share of victims of trafficking from countries in the
Caribbean has been detected, compared to the level of
regular migration flows from this area to Argentina.

What factors can influence the
vulnerability of certain migration flows
to trafficking in persons?

Among the many factors that could increase the risks for
some migrants falling prey to human traffickers, the pres-
ence of transnational organized crime in the territory of
origin seems to be particularly relevant. The 2014 Global
Report discussed the role of organized criminal groups in
trafficking in persons, and the analysis found that the
higher the prevalence of organized crime in origin coun-
tries, the more victims of these countries are detected in
major destinations.61 That edition looked at how traffick-
ing in persons is conducted by a variety of criminal actors,
and not necessarily by structured transnational criminal
organizations. Many cases of trafficking are carried out by
individuals who exploit a relative or partner. However, a
trafficking organization is needed to sustain cross-border
trafficking flows over time.62

61 See pp. 43-49, UNODC, Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2014
(United Nations publication, Sales No. E.14.V.10).

62 See pp. 48-49, UNODC, Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2014

FIG. 44 Correlation between migration
flows and trafficking flows in the
Netherlands, 2011-2013

Source: UNODC elaboration of UNDESA and national data

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10,000

15,000

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25,000

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35,000

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45,000

50,000

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Number of victims of trafficking
detected in the Netherlands, by

country of origin, 2011-2013

Page 64

60

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6

The relevance of transnational organized crime in origin
countries as a risk factor that may expose migrants to traf-
ficking is also highlighted in the court cases collected for
this Global Report. Several cases point to a modus operandi
in which the recruitment is conducted in origin countries
by groups that traffic co-national victims and carry out
the exploitation at destination, sometimes in cooperation
with local traffickers there. In most cases, trafficking in
persons starts with an act of recruitment, and thus, the
stronger the presence of traffickers in the territory of
recruitment, the more victims tend to be trafficked from
these origins.

Another element to be considered is the socio-economic
profile of the migrant, and in connection with this, his or
her possibility of accessing legal ways to work and reside
in the destination country. A lack of economic resources,
a low level of education and other factors could mean that
a large number of people wanting to migrate may experi-
ence greater difficulties in finding a legal means to do so.

Statistical analyses in three selected destination countries
may suggest that people with citizenships that are less
likely to satisfy the requirements to legally reside in a
country are more frequently detected as victims of traf-
ficking in that country.63 However, the situation is differ-
ent for the main trafficking flows into the European
Union. The main origin countries for trafficking victims
detected in the EU are other EU countries. In addition,
major flows of trafficking also occur within the countries’
borders in the form of domestic trafficking.

Traffickers target everyone who could be valuable for their
trade; domestically or across borders. They may traffic
victims who can move freely across borders, those who
require visas or people who already live in the country of
destination. In cases where people are willing to migrate
but unable to obtain regular access to the desired destina-
tion, traffickers may leverage this limitation during
recruitment. They lure victims by promising safe travel
and entry into the desired destination country, and then
deceive them into exploitative situations.

Qualitative analyses of court case briefs find a clear pat-
tern linking a desire to migrate to criminal groups and
trafficking in persons. Many cases start with people eager
to migrate but with no other option than to rely on some-
one who they believe will facilitate their irregular migra-
tion into a better life. In this process, once at destination,
traffickers can also use the threat, among others, of report-

(United Nations publication, Sales No. E.14.V.10).
63 See Annex IV (available at www.unodc.org/unodc/en/data-and-anal-

ysis/glotip.html).

ing to the migration authorities, knowing that most vic-
tims do not trust the authorities and fear deportation.

In some cases, the ‘means’ by which victims are trafficked
can take the form of debt bondage schemes in which traf-
fickers require the victim(s) to work under exploitative
conditions in order to pay back expenses incurred in the
smuggling process. Nigerian criminal groups typically
‘offer’ victims an irregular migration package to Europe
for about 50-70,000 Nigerian naira (roughly 250 euros)
during the recruitment in Nigeria. Such a package prom-
ises land, sea or air transportation, making use of coun-
terfeit documents or other means. The person accepts the
price with the idea of paying it back by working in Europe.
Once at destination, the debt is converted into 50-70,000
euros to be paid by forced prostitution for a period that
could last up to three years or longer.64 A long list of simi-
lar cases were reported by different countries around the
world, indicating that this might be a frequent means to
traffic victims.65

Trafficking networks may also use schemes involving
counterfeit documents to facilitate the migration of their
victims. Such documents are used to cross borders illegally,
but also to evade controls in the country of residence. In
Belgium, an Algerian victim was lured to the country with
the promise of a legal job. The victim crossed the border
from Morocco to Spain with a fake Spanish passport
bought for 3,500 euros. Once at destination, the victim
was sexually exploited, and traffickers also leveraged the
victim’s fear of being reported to the authorities as an
undocumented migrant.66 In other cases, the trafficking
networks may organize sham marriages. The scheme
entails arranging a sham marriage in order to obtain a
residence permit for the victim in the country of the false
partner. Once at destination, those who organized the
sham marriage exploit the victim, who at that point is
dependent on the traffickers, and afraid of reporting to
the authorities.

64 See p. 56, UNODC, Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2014
(United Nations publication, Sales No. E.14.V.10).

65 Case provided by Australia, which concluded with a conviction by the
supreme court of the Australian Capital Territory, and a sentence of
8 years and 10 months of imprisonment. Case provided the United
States of America, which concluded with a conviction by the District
Court for the District of Minnesota and a prison sentence of 1 year.
Case provided by Denmark, which concluded with convictions by
the city court of Hjoerring, with sentences of 30 months of imprison-
ment. Case provided by Portugal, which concluded with convictions
by the court of Vila Nova de Famalicão. The sentences ranged from 1
to 12 years of imprisonment.

66 Case provided Belgium, which concluded with a conviction by the
court of Termonde (sentence not available).

Page 125

121

Regional overviews - North Africa and the Middle East III

Criminalization of trafficking
in persons

All the countries in this region that have legislation on
trafficking in persons introduced it after the entry into
force of the UN Trafficking in Persons Protocol. More
than half of the countries did so after 2008. With some
exceptions, countries in the region did not previously con-
sider trafficking in persons as an offence, and a few coun-
tries criminalized either only child trafficking or trafficking
for sexual exploitation.

Among those with either partial or no legislation, Libya
does not have a specific trafficking in persons offence, and
the ongoing conflict there makes future improvements
unlikely, at least in the short term. Similarly, in Yemen, a
draft law was under preparation before the eruption of
conflict. The current criminal code in Yemen does not
include a trafficking in persons offence.

With regard to the criminal justice process, on average,
about 34 per cent of the number of persons investigated
in the region receive convictions in the first court instance.
This is above the global average.

FIG. 124 Shares of detected trafficking flows
in North Africa and the Middle East,
by geographical distance,* 2014 (or
most recent)

* Short-distance trafficking flows see victims trafficked within national
borders or between neighbouring countries; medium-distance flows
are between two countries that do not share a border and with the
border of the origin country less than 3,500 kilometres away from the
closest border of the destination country; and long-distance flows con-
nect countries in which the border of the origin is farther than 3,500
kilometres away from the closest border of the destination.

Source: UNODC elaboration of national data.

Short
distance

30%

Medium
distance

21%

Long
distance

49%

FIG. 125 Share and number of countries in
North Africa and the Middle East
with a specific offence on trafficking
in persons that criminalizes all forms
listed in the UN Protocol, by period
of introduction of the offence

Share of countries in North Africa
and the Middle East, by number of
trafficking convictions, 2012-2014
(one year within the period)

Source: UNODC elaboration of national data.
Note: For the criminalization analysis, more countries are covered than
for the section on patterns and flows.

Period 2
Full trafficking

offence introduced
between January

2004 and
November 2008

4

Period 3
Full trafficking offence

introduced between December
2008 and August 2012

6 Period 4
Full trafficking

offence between
September 2012
and August 2014

2

Period 5
Full trafficking

offence introduced
between September

2014 and August
2016

2
No or partial

trafficking offence
in September 2016

2

No
convictions

2

10 or fewer
convictions

per year

3

Between
11 and 50
convictions

per year

4

More than
50 convictions

per year

1Information
not available

1

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