News in Brief 24 January 2023

News in Brief 24 January 2023

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Global crises hinder human trafficking investigations: UNODC

Fewer victims of people trafficking are being identified, even as the COVID-19 pandemic and other crises are increasing their vulnerability, a new report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has found.

Globally, the number of victims detected fell by 11 per cent in 2020 from the previous year, driven by fewer detections in low and medium-income countries.

The number of convictions for trafficking offences also fell by 27 per cent over the same period, accelerating a longer-term trend registered by the agency since 2017.  

According to the report, despite reducing opportunities for traffickers to operate, the pandemic may have weakened law enforcement's capacity to detect victims.

War and conflict have also offered opportunities for traffickers to exploit, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, elevating trafficking risks for the millions displaced or forced the flee the country.

The report also found that female victims are subject to physical or extreme violence from traffickers, at a rate three times higher than males.

UN-led Afghanistan mission continues

In Afghanistan, an Inter-Agency Standing Committee mission, led by UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths, continued on Tuesday.

The delegation includes the chiefs of Save the Children US, Janti Soeripto, and Sofía Sprechmann Sineiro of Care International, as well as the Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, Omar Abdi.

The visit comes one month since the de facto authorities banned Afghan women from working in national and international NGOs, putting some programmes on hold and sowing fears that the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, already dire, will get even worse. 

Some 28 million Afghans are in need of aid, a 350 per cent increase in just 5 years, according to the latest Humanitarian Needs Overview for Afghanistan released on Monday.

Mali: Violence and threats by armed groups continue to drive displacement

UN refugee agency UNHCR, has called for more support for those recently displaced in Mali, where continued violence and threats by armed groups have forced local Malians and refugees to flee for safety.

By the end of last year, the country hosted more than 60,000 refugees, including 25,000 from Burkina Faso. Meanwhile, some 440,000 Malians remain internally displaced.

Speaking in Geneva, Mohamed Toure, UNHCR’s Mali representative said that Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal are some of the towns where refugees are fleeing to.

UNHCR and its partners are supporting local authorities’ response, and providing those on the run with emergency shelter, education, food and water, and cash assistance aimed at economic empowerment.

But given the ‘enormous’ need, Mr Toure urged the international community to show greater solidarity through urgent financial support for humanitarian organizations to deliver life-saving assistance.

Katy Dartford, UN News.

  • Victims of human trafficking more vulnerable due to wars: UNODC
  • Afghan mission led by UN relief chief keeps pressure on Taliban
  • Armed groups continue to displace refugees and civilians in Mali
Audio Credit
Katy Dartford, UN News - Geneva
Photo Credit
IOM/Muse Mohammed