Criminal groups feed off the instability created by conflicts, and as links between wars, trafficking and migrant smuggling become more widely known, the United Nations is calling on the international community to act now to help and protect trafficking victims and to end this crime forever.
“Conflict is a breeding ground for criminal activity,” said Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). “People forced from their homes are falling prey to human traffickers as they try desperately to escape the violence.”
In Syria, for example, women and children there were less likely to be trafficked before 2011, according to the latest UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons.
“Since the start of the Syrian crisis, however, an increasing number of countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East have detected trafficking victims from this country,” Mr. Fedotov said.
“As evidence grows of conflict's ability to nourish crime, the international community is increasingly recognizing the need to confront people's vulnerability to trafficking during conflicts,” Mr. Fedotov said, recalling that in 2016, UN Security Council passed its first-ever resolution resolution on this issue, and last year's New York Declaration calls for the need to vigorously combat human trafficking and migrant smuggling, as well as provide support and assistance under the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
His comments come on the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, which is being held this year under the theme of “Let's act now to protect and assist trafficking victims.”