The 292-page study says this is particularly surprising because organized crime is, in general, an overwhelmingly male activity.
The report also says many of the female traffickers are themselves former sex slaves, while women offenders have in general, a more prominent role in human trafficking than in any other crime.
“It is shocking that victims become traffickers,” said Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the UN Office of Drugs and Crime, which released the report Thursday.
“We need to understand the psychological, financial and coercive reasons why women recruit other women into slavery.”
Costa said that “women trafficking women is the norm” in Eastern Europe and in Central Asia. But the report shows that even in the Western European countries of France, Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal, the proportion of women convicted of human trafficking outstrips female conviction rates for all other crimes combined.