VIENNA, April 22 (KUNA) - The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) announced Monday a new global initiative to combat human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

Human trafficking and migrant smuggling are multi-billion-dollar businesses that have changed dramatically in recent years, driven by global challenges such as war, large migration and refugee flows, cyber crime, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, said the office in a statement.
"Over the past two decades, there was relative optimism that we could win the fight against trafficking and smuggling globally," said Ilias Chatzis, Chief of the UNODC Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section. "Then things changed drastically. Progress achieved is today under threat." The involvement of organized crime and the rapid evolution of digital technologies have exacerbated the situation, he added.
Under its new Action, UNODC will highlight the links between trafficking and smuggling and other forms of organized crime such as cybercrime, money laundering, drug trafficking, firearms trafficking, and corruption.
UNODC's work against migrant smuggling will broaden its scope to encompass the protection of vulnerable migrants and the identification of human trafficking victims among migration and refugee flows.
UNODC has been at the forefront of the fight against human trafficking and migrant smuggling for over 20 years, since the adoption of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols against these crimes. (end) amq.aa