Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2022


This report was published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in April 2023. It is the seventh edition of UNODC’s biennial Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, the first edition of which was published in 2009.

The UNODC defines human trafficking as the “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of people through force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them for profit.” The report uses data on trafficking recorded from 2017 to 2020 from 141 countries around the world. It covers the years of the covid-19 pandemic and analyses trends, patterns and effects emerging through the pandemic on human trafficking and counter trafficking. 

The report outlines profiles of victims of trafficking across sex, age, nationality, types of exploitation and also profiles of traffickers. The report makes recommendations for policy implementation and formulation of legislations according to the specific drawbacks identified in member states. The report also gives an insight into the effect of climate disasters and political conflicts in various regions on trafficking flows. 

This 186-page document is divided into two chapters: ‘Global Overview’ (Chapter 1); ‘Regional Overviews’ (Chapter 2).


  1. In 2020, the first year of the covid-19 pandemic, there was an 11 per cent decline in the number of victims of human trafficking globally. This decrease was notable in low- and medium-income countries. This was the first time since data began to be collected (2003) that a decrease was recorded in the number of victims.

  2. Covid-19 led to a decrease in cross border trafficking globally. From 2019 to 2020, there was a 20 per cent decline in detection of trafficking victims from foreign nations within various countries.

  3. After a decade of yearly increase, in 2020 the number of victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation decreased by about 24 per cent globally. However, a report published by the German Federal Criminal Police ‘Human Trafficking and Exploitation National Situation’ suggests that sexual exploitation continues but has taken more invisible forms like shifting from streets and brothels to private apartments.

  4. The report notes that masculine ideals and gender stereotypes associated with men act as a barrier in detecting cases of human trafficking among men, as the society refuses to perceive them as victims.

  5. In 2020, only 12 member states worldwide reported data to the UNODC on transgender or non-binary victims of trafficking in persons.

  6. The report states that one per cent of the detected trafficking victims in 2020 were trafficked for the purpose of forced marriage. According to the UNODC, forced marriage takes place in several forms, one of them includes, ‘sham marriages’ wherein women are forced to marry men from foreign countries so the men can gain legal entry and rights in the victims’ country.

  7. Child trafficking in regions of conflict also involves recruitment and use of children in acts of terrorism or war crimes. In 2020, 232 children were recruited as combatants and 578 children were engaged as bodyguards, messengers, porters, spies, etc, in the Central African Republic.

  8. In 2022, the conflict in Ukraine displaced more than seven million people internally and created 5.6 million refugees outside the country. As high as 78 per cent of the internally displaced population reports being in immediate economic need, which makes them a prone target for traffickers.

  9. Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines in 2013 which led to a large number of deaths and displaced 4.4 million people. From 2013-2015, 670 cases of trafficking were reported in the typhoon affected region alone.

    Focus and Factoids by Gauri Yadav.

    PARI Library’s health archive project is part of an initiative supported by the Azim Premji University to develop a free-access repository of health-related reports relevant to rural India.


United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Austria


United Nations


Apr, 2023