The Article 3 of the United Nations Protocol to Prevent,Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the Convention on Transnational Organized Crime (2000) defines trafficking as:
"the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery or servitude or the removal of organs"
Trafficking involves transporting people away from the communities in which they live and forcing them to work against their will using violence, deception or coercion. When children are trafficked, no violence,deception or coercion needs to be involved: simply transporting them into exploitative conditions constitutes trafficking. People are trafficked both between countries and within the borders of a state.
Trafficking affects countries and families on every continent. Because of its hidden nature, it is difficult to get accurate statistics on the numbers affected, but the International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that at any one time there are some 2.5 million people who have been trafficked and are being subjected to sexual or labour exploitation.
Most coverage of the trafficking issue has focussed on trafficking for sexual exploitation, but around a third of all trafficked people are used exclusively for labour exploitation (for example, domestic work, agricultural work, catering or packing and processing).
Trafficking for sexual exploitation almost exclusively affects women and girls (98per cent), but trafficking for labour exploitation also affects women more than men (56 per cent being women and girls).
States need to pass legislation which prohibits and punishes all forms of trafficking as defined and set out in the UN Trafficking Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children.
Governments also need to recognise that all trafficked people are victims of a human rights violation and provide them with minimum standards of protection and support. This should include appropriate shelter, financial and legal assistance, counselling, health services and temporary and permanent residence status.
States must also recognise that these initiatives alone will not be sufficient to counter the problem of trafficking and that their policies must also address the root causes of this problem, which are closely linked to migration issues.
The promotion of regular and managed migration, in line with the UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and their Families(1990), has the potential to reduce trafficking by offering migrants a mechanism by which they can take up jobs abroad which is safer, cheaper and guarantees their human and labour rights in the country of destination
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