The 2018 edition of the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons is based on information collected from 142 countries.Human trafficking is generally defined as a crime that is committed with the intention to exploit the victim. It is not to be confused with smuggling of persons. Women and girls in particular are continuously in great risk of being trafficked, which 2018’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, Nadia Murad (UN ambassador and survivor of human trafficking), addressed at the award show in Oslo. An analysis of the data on trafficking victims over the last 15 years suggests that women and girls together continues to represent more than 70 percent of detected trafficking victims. More exact; nearly 3/4 detected victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation as well as 35 percent of those trafficked for forced labour are female. Trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation is the most detected form of trafficking globally. Every region in the world faces major challenges when it comes to combating sex trafficking. Victims trafficked for sexual exploitation comprised 59 percent of the detected victims in 2016.

Click on the image to download the 2018 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons

The Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2018 indicates that the total number of reported trafficking victims has increased. This could be an indication of more people are being trafficked, but also that national capacities to detect this crime and identify victims are improving in some countries. While impunity is still a major problem in this field, there has been made headway in the 15 years since the Protocol against Trafficking in Persons entered into force. Nearly every country now has legislation in place criminalizing human trafficking.

According to data from both this report and previous reports it can be said that victims who have been detected within their own national borders now represent the largest part of the victims detected worldwide. This finding tells us that trafficking in persons should not only be understood as transnational, but should be treated as a criminal justice priority in all national jurisdictions. Furthermore, it emphasizes that trafficking is about the exploitation of victims, and not necessarily their movement.

In general, East African countries detect larger shares of adults, nearly equally split between men and women. However, it is the trafficking of children – particularly girls – that remains a key concern. Dedicated training can make practitioners better equipped to detect and assist these victims, ensuring that the best interest of the child is safeguarded. In relation to combating trafficking of children, HAART Kenya has created the Combating Child Trafficking manual for teachers which speaks directly into the need for quality holistic care for child victims of trafficking. Additionally, HAART Kenya also has a Child Protection Policy that anyone visiting our shelter and/or work with our girls will be asked to sign.

In relation to the above, the report continues to state that “…knowledge is fundamental to tailor decisive responses, and stronger national responses help to generate more knowledge about the crime.” To this, HAART Kenya agrees, and we are therefore proud to be recognized as one of the only organisations in Kenya that focuses on qualitative research and field studies in order to back up our work and the knowledge we share with relevant stakeholders within the field of human trafficking and safe migration.

On a global scale, adult women comprised nearly half of the detected victims in 2016 (p. 25). This target group is accordingly the group that we in HAART Kenya assist most. The report states that Kenya has reported large shares of victims for the purpose of forced labour, most of these victims were females, especially girls, which matches our internal figures. HAART Kenya has since 2013 operated an all-girls shelter (with few exceptions) where we currently shelter 25 girls. At our shelter we offer holistic care and protection in a safe environment to secure successful rehabilitation and reintegration of the girls.

On page 82 the report goes on to state that in the Middle East, the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council detect victims from both West and East Africa. To this we agree as the vast majority of the people we help are East African women who have travelled o the Middle East in the search of domestic worker jobs. Upon arrival in Middle Eastern countries they are deprived of their passports and identification documents under the Kafala rule that allows this to happen. This is a huge problem especially in East African.

By Rikke Gramkow