A rising number of girls are being reported as victims of human trafficking with figures reaching 23% out of all trafficking victims uncovered globally, according to the 2018 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, released by the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
The percentage of girls, aged less than 18, surged from 10% in 2004 to 21% in 2014, reaching 23% im 2016.
Boys account for 7% of reported trafficking victims, down from 8% in 2014, and up from 3% in 2004.
"In the profile of identified victims, we are seeing more and more children, an increase particularly in girls," chief of the UNODC's research and trend analysis branch, Angela Me, said.
"There are now a whole bunch of countries that have new legislation so are more equipped from a legislative point of view to criminalize and to prosecute and at the same time to protect the victims," Me noted.
Women make up 94% of the total victims trafficked for sexual exploitation, and 35% of those trafficked for forced labor.
Areas witnessing armed conflicts, such as Africa, the Middle East and Asia, are prone to experience trafficking as people become desperate for money or vulnerable in the face of armed forces.
In addition, people fleeing conflict, such as Syrian, Iraqi and Rohingya refugees are also sought by traffickers.
"In migration flows, you have a dispersion of families and then you have many children who travel alone, who definitely become more vulnerable to be trapped into exploitative situations," Me explained.
The report warns that "the absolute numbers of convictions remain very low," deploring thr fact that globally "there appears to be hardly any risk for traffickers to face justice."