By Nicky Furlong, Director, Public Sector, Health & Life Sciences at SAS UK.
One of the most disturbing things about global human trafficking is just how pervasive it is.
According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), an agency of the UN, 49.6 million people were trapped in some form of human slavery in 2021 – 27.6 million of whom were in forced labour and 22 million in forced marriage.
Of the 27.6 million in forced labour, 6.3 million people were the victims of commercial sexual exploitation. The ILO also points out that the problem of global human trafficking has “risen significantly” in recent years – and occurs in almost every country of the world.
Tackling global human trafficking is a major challenge for national and international crime agencies because of the complex network of elusive gangs operating across borders. As the World Economic Forum (WEF) says in its own literature on the subject, “around 172 countries form part of the chain of exploitation … it’s a daunting picture”.
But the WEF also identifies a real and, we believe, powerful solution. It says: “The only way to drill down into what’s really going on and to develop intervention strategies is for data to be shared.”