The latest report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), indicates that about 72 percent of the detected human trafficking victims are women and girls.
The report further says that the percentage of child victims has more than doubled from 2004 to 2016.
Many of those falling prey to traffickers are migrants, including refugees and asylum seekers who have left their country of origin for various reasons.
“Most detected victims are trafficked for sexual exploitation. Victims are also trafficked for forced labour, recruitment as child soldiers and other forms of exploitation and abuse”, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in his message on the day, marked annually on July 30.
He said migrants have been the main target as a result of armed conflict, displacement, climate change, natural disasters and poverty.
“Thousands of people have died at sea, in deserts and in detention centers, at the hands of traffickers and migrant smugglers plying their monstrous, merciless trades”, he continued.
He said there was a need to step up protection for the most vulnerable, adding that most countries have the necessary laws in place, but more needs to be done to bring transnational trafficking networks to justice.
“On this World Day against Trafficking in Persons, let us reaffirm our commitment to stop criminals from ruthlessly exploiting people for profit and to help victims rebuild their lives”, concluded the Secretary-General.