Thursday, October 31, 2013

UNODC - Human Trafficking

unodc human trafficking

Trafficking in persons is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights. Every year, thousands of men, women, and children fall into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and abroad. Almost every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims. UNODC, as guardian of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and the Protocols thereto, assists States in their efforts to implement the  Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons (Trafficking in Persons Protocol).

What is Human Trafficking?

Article 3, paragraph (a) of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons defines Trafficking in Persons 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, servitude or the removal of organs.

Types of Human Trafficking

Sex Trafficking 
Sex trafficking is the act of forcing, coercing, or transporting a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act. These crimes are primarily committed against women and children. Sex trafficking can occur in residential brothels, brothels disguised as massage parlors, strip clubs, and via online escort services and street prostitution.

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Labor Trafficking
Labor trafficking is the act of forcing a person to work for little or no money. It can include forced labor in underground markets and sweatshops, as well as legitimate businesses such as hotels, factories, restaurants, construction sites, farming, landscaping, nail salons, and traveling sales crews.

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Domestic Servitude
A form of labor trafficking, domestic servitude often involves women who are forced to live and work in the homes of employers who confiscate their legal documents and prevent them from leaving. Domestic workers can be U.S. citizens, lawfully-admitted foreign nationals, or undocumented immigrants.

Elements of Human Trafficking

On the basis of the definition given in the Trafficking in Persons Protocol, it is evident that trafficking in persons has three constituent elements;

The Act (What is done)
Recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons

The Means (How it is done)
Threat or use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or vulnerability, or giving payments or benefits to a person in control of the victim

The Purpose (Why it is done)
For the purpose of exploitation, which includes exploiting the prostitution of others, sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery or similar practices and the removal of organs.
To ascertain whether a particular circumstance constitutes trafficking in persons, consider the definition of trafficking in the Trafficking in Persons Protocol and the constituent elements of the offense, as defined by relevant domestic legislation.

Difference between Human Trafficking and Smuggling

Though they are often confused, human trafficking and smuggling are separate and fundamentally different crimes. Human trafficking is a crime against the person whereas smuggling is a crime against the state. Smuggling occurs when a person voluntarily requests or hires a person, known as a smuggler, to transport him or her across a border for a fee. At least theoretically, a person who is smuggled into the United States is free to leave upon payment of a prearranged fee, while a victim of human trafficking is enslaved to supply labor or services. Unlike smuggling, the crime of human trafficking does not require travel or transportation of the victim across borders. Thus, human trafficking can (and does) occur domestically, with victims who are born and raised in California and other states.

Criminalization of human trafficking

The definition contained in article 3 of the Trafficking in Persons Protocol is meant to provide consistency and consensus around the world on the phenomenon of trafficking in persons. Article 5, therefore, requires that the conduct set out in article 3 be criminalized in domestic legislation. Domestic legislation does not need to follow the language of the Trafficking in Persons Protocol precisely but should be adapted in accordance with domestic legal systems to give effect to the concepts contained in the Protocol.
In addition to the criminalization of trafficking, the Trafficking in Persons Protocol requires criminalization also of:
  • Attempts to commit a trafficking offense
  • Participation as an accomplice in such an offense
  • Organizing or directing others to commit trafficking.
National legislation should adopt the broad definition of trafficking prescribed in the Protocol. The legislative definition should be dynamic and flexible so as to empower the legislative framework to respond effectively to trafficking which:
  • Occurs both across borders and within a country (not just cross-border)
  • Is for a range of exploitative purposes (not just sexual exploitation)
  • Victimizes children, women and men (Not just women, or adults, but also men and children)
  • Takes place with or without the involvement of organized crime groups.
For a checklist of Criminalization under the Protocol, click here.
For more resources, visit our Publications page.
To see how human trafficking is different to migrant smuggling, click here.

Definitions of Human Trafficking (International standard)

California
The California Legislature defined human trafficking as "all acts involved in the recruitment, abduction, transport, harboring, transfer, sale or receipt of persons, within national or across international borders, through force, coercion, fraud or deception, to place persons in situations of slavery or slavery-like conditions, forced labor or services, such as forced prostitution or sexual services, domestic servitude, bonded sweatshop labor, or other debt bondage."
As codified in the California Penal Code, anyone who "deprives or violates the personal liberty of another with the intent . . . to obtain forced labor or services" is guilty of human trafficking. Depriving or violating a person's liberty includes "substantial and sustained restriction of another's liberty accomplished through fraud, deceit, coercion, violence, duress, menace, or threat of unlawful injury to the victim or to another person, under circumstances where the person receiving or apprehending the threat reasonably believes that it is likely that the person making the threat would carry it out."
Forced labor or services include "labor or services that are performed or provided by a person and are obtained or maintained through force, fraud, or coercion, or equivalent conduct that would reasonably overbear the will of the person."

Federal

Federal law defines trafficking in persons as "sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age"; or "the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery."

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