NEW YORK, 12 February 2009 (UNODC). The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) today issued a Global Report on Trafficking in Persons. Based on data gathered from 155 countries, it offers the first global assessment of the scope of human trafficking and what is being done to fight it. It includes: an overview of trafficking patterns; legal steps taken in response; and country-specific information on reported cases of trafficking in persons, victims, and prosecutions. "Public opinion is waking up to the reality of modern slavery", said the Executive Director of UNODC, Antonio Maria Costa. "But many governments are still in denial. There is even neglect when it comes to either reporting on, or prosecuting cases of human trafficking".
The press release goes on to say that the rate of prosecution is lower than for rare crimes. Also 60% of those convicted are women. I believe the second statistic may be related to the first one.
The recent conviction of 4 women and 1 man I blogged about was for a very small time operation. The large organized traffickers are the least likely to be prosecuted and the most likely to be run by men.
The huge scale of human trafficking is one of the reasons that it is important to not assign those prostituted with agency they don't possess. If the trafficked are wrongfully assumed to have agency, possibly because they are not locked in by barbed wire, then freeing them won't be a high priority because they could free themselves if they really wanted to be free.