“At any one time, 2.4 million people suffer the misery of this humiliating and degrading crime,” Fedotov said.
He said fighting these criminals “is a challenge of extraordinary proportions”.
According to Fedotov’s Drugs and Crime office based in Vienna, only one out of 100 victims of trafficking is ever rescued, and two out of every three victims are women.
Michelle Bachelet, head of UN women, the new UN agency promoting women’s rights and gender equality, said: “It’s difficult to think of a crime more hideous and shocking than human trafficking. Yet, it is one of the fastest growing and lucrative crimes.”