Statistics on Human Trafficking
Estimates of the number of trafficked persons vary considerably, and many factors contribute to the difficulty in gaining accurate figures. While estimates vary, it is widely agreed that the number of victims actually reached and assisted is a small fraction of the actual numbers trafficked. Some of the reasons for the lack of clear and hard data include:
The following however provide some useful resources.
UNESCO Trafficking Statistics Project
UNESCO is conducting a literature review and meta-analysis of existing statements on trafficking. UNESCO is tracing the origin of numbers cited by various sources, attempting to ascertain the methodology by which these numbers were calculated, and evaluating their validity. The aim is to clarify the bases on which estimates of the numbers of trafficked persons are derived, and to separate trafficking myths from trafficking realities.
Results to date show that there is a very wide range of estimates, which are often reinforced by journalists quoting the figures. Yet the scientific rigour (or otherwise) behind the estimates is rarely explored.
SIREN Human Trafficking Data Sheets
There are few resources that bring together all of the available information on human trafficking and the counter-trafficking response by country. The SIREN Human Trafficking Data Sheets seek to do this and present the information in an easy-to-read format, in collaboration with partners who receive the information needed. Working with government partners through the COMMIT Process, information is collated that has sometimes never been previously published.
Version 2.0 of the SIREN datasheets are due for public release in early to mid-2010, after all data and sources have been verified. The updated versions have been further refined for readability.
UNIAP Trafficking Estimates Initiative
Despite the underground and clandestine nature of human trafficking, UNIAP believes it is not impossible to determine the magnitude of the crime. In order to properly target and scale anti-trafficking measures, as well as measure the impact of anti-trafficking interventions, it is imperative to realistically and accurately measure trafficking flows – numbers of victims, their locations, their vulnerability factors, and labour sectors with especially high prevalence of trafficked labour. As in other sectors where hidden populations are difficult to identify, it is the methodologies and resources that are key.
UNIAP’s Trafficking Estimates Initiative provided funding to innovative research partnerships, including international and local academics and NGOs, to explore innovative ways to estimate numbers of trafficked persons in various Mekong environments. The outcomes of the first of these research studies are below, and they will be openly peer reviewed and discussed regionally and nationally in early 2011.
International Labour Organization (ILO)
ILO have estimated the numbers of persons in forced labour with disaggregation by geographical region, sex and age. There are also estimates of trafficking within the forced labour definition used.
The U.S. Government through the State Department estimates that approximately 800,000 people are trafficked across national borders (therefore excluding those trafficked within their own countries), through research completed in 2006. The Government Accounting Office (GAO) conducted a study of the available data and estimates.