Adult women comprised nearly half of the detected victims in 2016. Men and girls were detected in similar proportions; each profile accounted for about one fifth of the detected victims globally. As resulting from the analysis of the data on trafficking victims over the last 15 years, women and girls together continued to represent more than 70 per cent of detected trafficking victims.
A closer look at the data disaggregated by region reveals significant geographical differences in the profiles of the detected victims. For example, child victims accounted for the majority (55 per cent) of the victims detected in sub-Saharan Africa in 2016, with girls and boys almost equally distributed.
In South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific, men accounted for more than 30 per cent of the detected victims in the same year; a significantly large share in the global total.
In Europe, as well as in the Americas, women comprised clear majorities of the detected trafficking victims.
An analysis of the profile of the victims reflects geographical differences in the capacity to detect, record, and report on trafficking in persons. Globally, Europe, some parts of Asia, as well as the Americas, detect the largest numbers of victims.
Shares of detected victims of trafficking in persons, by age group and sex, 2016 (or most recent)
Additionally, most of the women victims considered in this report were detected in these regions. With regard to males, in absolute numbers, most of the detected boy victims were detected in Africa, whereas adult male victims were often detected in South Asia and the Middle East.
When aggregating this data to produce a global analysis, the overall picture is affected by the fact that Europe and the Americas detect more victims than Africa. It could be assumed, for example, that if the detection capacities of sub-Saharan African countries were similar to those of countries in Europe or the Americas, child victims would make up a larger proportion of the detected victims globally. Similar considerations can the drawn on South Asian countries and adult men in the global picture.
Detected victims of trafficking in persons, by age group and sex, by subregion of detection, 2016 (or most recent)
In terms of trends, the 2016 findings are broadly in line with data from 2012-2014. The share of children remained at around 30 per cent of the detected victims, with far more girls detected than boys. Comparing data from 2016 and 2004 reveals a clear increase in detections of children, with both girls and boys more than doubling their shares of the total.
Share of children among the total number of detected victims in the different regions, by country, 2016 (or most recent)
Detections of trafficking victims who are men appear to have stabilised in the wake of increases reported in previous years. The share of men among the victims detected in 2016 is around 20 per cent. This figure is in line with findings from 2014, but a significant increase from previous years.
Main profiles detected in the geographical areas considered, by subregions, 2016 (or most recent)
The victim profiles also change according to the form of trafficking considered. Men and women are largely detected as trafficked for different forms of exploitation. Data from a number of countries providing the information on forms of exploitation by sex and age of the victims, show clear distinctions between detected victims who are women and men. While 83 per cent of the women victims who were detected in 2016 were trafficked for sexual exploitation, 82 per cent of the detected men were trafficked for forced labour.
Trends in the shares of children among detected trafficking victims, selected years
Trends in the shares of adults among detected trafficking victims, selected years
Shares of forms of exploitation among detected women victims of trafficking in persons, 2016 (or most recent)
Share of forms of exploitation among detected men victims of trafficking in persons, 2016 (or most recent)
Share of forms of exploitation among detected girl victims of trafficking in persons, 2016 (or most recent)
Share of forms of exploitation among detected boy victims of trafficking in persons, 2016 (or most recent)
Some 10 per cent of detected the men victims were trafficked for sexual exploitation, while 13 per cent of the women were trafficked for forced labour. For detected child victims, the gender patterns for forms of exploitation are different. While boys – like men - are mainly detected as trafficked for forced labour, many are also detected as trafficked for sexual exploitation and for ‘other’ forms of exploitation such as exploitative begging, child soldiering and forced criminal activities.
Share of detected victims of trafficking, by profile and forms of exploitation, 2016 (or most recent)
Like women, the clear majority of detected girl victims are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. However, one out of every five detected girls in 2016 were trafficked for forced labour. A significant share of detected trafficked girls were trafficked for forms of exploitation other than sexual exploitation or forced labour. As reported in the next section, victims are trafficked for a list of purposes, ranging from forced marriages to exploitative begging and forced criminal activities. The share of detected girl victims who were trafficked for ‘other’ forms of exploitation is considerably smaller than the corresponding share for detected boys.
IMAGE CREDIT: WBRC Video