The United Nations has said that climate-related disasters are becoming a source of human trafficking as criminal gangs exploit an increasing number of uprooted people.
The ongoing conflict in Ukraine is also a risk factor for increased human trafficking, according to a report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
“Climate change is increasing vulnerability to trafficking,” the UNODC report said. “While a systematic global analysis of the impact of climate change in trafficking in persons is missing, community level studies in different parts of the world point at weather-induced disasters as root causes for trafficking in persons,”.
The report, which is based on data from 141 countries collected from 2017 to 2020 and the analysis of 800 court cases showed that the impact of climate change “disproportionally” affected poor farming, fishing and other communities mainly relying on the extraction of natural resources for their livelihoods.
Reacting to the findings of the report, Fabrizio Sarrica, its main author said that Once “deprived of their means of subsistence and forced to flee their community, people become easy prey for traffickers.
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The report showed that In 2021 alone, climate-related disasters internally displaced more than 23.7 million people, while many others fled their countries altogether. It found that as entire regions of the world are at risk of becoming “increasingly uninhabitable,” millions will face a “high risk of exploitation along migration routes.
The UN drugs agency noted that an increase in cases of human trafficking had been observed in Bangladesh and the Philippines after devastating cyclones and typhoons displaced millions and that droughts and floods in Ghana, and the Caribbean region — subject to hurricanes and rising sea levels — were also forcing many to migrate.
While most of the victims of trafficking resulting from conflicts originated from Africa and the Middle East, a potentially “dangerous” situation is simultaneously building up in Ukraine as millions flee the war-torn country.
“The challenge is how to deal with human trafficking arising from war and instability,” Ilias Chatzis, the head of the human trafficking and migrant smuggling section at UNODC, said. “With regard to Ukraine, helping neighbouring countries and increasing support to the Ukrainian authorities is equally important”.
This story was adapted from Geo News.