The multiplication of weather disasters, which pushes millions of people onto the roads, is now one of the “main causes” of human trafficking, according to a UN report published Tuesday (Jan. 24), also mentioning the risks posed by the war in Ukraine.

“Climate change increases vulnerability to trafficking,” the study by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said, based on data collection from 141 countries over the 2017-2020 period and analysis of 800 court cases.

Over time, “entire regions will become uninhabitable,” which “disproportionately affects” poor communities that live primarily on agriculture or fishing.

They find themselves “deprived of their livelihoods and forced to flee their communities”, becoming easy prey for traffickers, Fabrizio Sarrica, lead author of the text, explained to the press ahead of publication.

In 2021 alone, climate-related disasters caused the internal displacement of more than 23.7 million people, while many others had to move abroad.

The report cites devastating typhoons in the Philippines and Bangladesh, which is particularly prone to cyclones and storms.