Belinda-Rose Young, MSPH, CPH, IPRC Associate Director of Outreach, Training and. Education

The Research and Analysis Branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), released the 2022 UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons on January 24, 2023, which features the work of Belinda-Rose Young, MSPH, CPH, PhD candidate at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and associate director of Outreach, Training and Education at the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center (IPRC) and Meghan Chua, MPH, project manager at UNC IPRC.

Young and Chua conducted a global analysis of country policies affecting human trafficking using structural equation modeling (Latent Class Analysis). Through the study, Young and Chua explored the relationship between the adoption of United Nations (UN) instruments and human trafficking detection.

Meghan Chua, MPH, IPRC Project Manager

They found that the detection varied based on the number and types of UN instruments that countries adopted. The expanded abstract for the study, titled “Can multisector approaches improve victim identification?” is one of two abstracts selected for this edition of the report as part of the UNODC Generation 30 initiative which showcases the work of young and early-career researchers.

“We found several structural variables in the literature that were relevant to human trafficking detection. These variables included migration and refugee law, criminal law, labor standards and measures aiming at preventing gender-based violence and child protection, among many others,” said Young.

Young and Chua then examined what countries had adopted which laws (i.e., UN legal instruments). They found three different subgroups, where some countries had adopted all laws, some only adopted laws relevant to migration, and a third group only adopted laws relevant to criminalizing human trafficking. After uncovering the subgroups, they sought to understand whether human trafficking detection rates were higher in some subgroups.

“Ultimately, our research shows that victims are being identified at higher rates when countries are adopting multiple laws, not just the ones pertaining to human trafficking. These laws are complementary, and when implemented together lead to higher victim detection,” said Young.

About the Generation 30 Initiative 

Generation 30 is an initiative of the UNODC Research and Analysis Branch featuring contributions from young and early-career researchers collected through an open call and selected on the basis of the quality of the empirical research and relevance of the topic. Two contributions were selected for this edition of the Report: “The social suffering of trafficked men” by P. Smiragina-Ingelstrom and “Can multisector approaches improve victim identification?” by B. Young and M. Chua. <\small>