Trafficking in persons
According to Article 4 of the European Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings, the terms ““trafficking in human beings” shall mean 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 others forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs”.
Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings for the purposes of reproductive slavery, commercial sexual exploitation, forced labor, or a modern-day form of slavery. The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (also referred to as the Trafficking Protocol) was adopted by the United Nations in Palermo, Italy in 2000, and is an international legal agreement attached to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. The Trafficking Protocol is one of three Protocols adopted to supplement the Convention.
The Protocol is the first global, legally binding instrument on trafficking in over half a century and the only one that sets out an agreed definition of trafficking in persons. The purpose of the Protocol is to facilitate convergence in national cooperation in investigating and prosecuting trafficking in persons. An additional objective of the Protocol is to protect and assist the victims of trafficking in persons with full respect for their human rights. The Trafficking Protocol entered into force on 25 December 2003. By June 2010, the Trafficking Protocol had been ratified by 117 countries and 137 parties.
Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially in women and children
At its sixtieth session, the Commission on Human Rights adopted decision 2004/110, by which it decided to appoint, for a three-year period, a Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children to focus on the human rights aspects of the victims of trafficking in persons. In the same decision, the Commission invited the Special Rapporteur to submit annual reports to the Commission together with recommendations on measures required to uphold and protect the human rights of the victims. The Commission requested the Special Rapporteur to respond effectively to reliable information on possible human rights violations with a view to protecting the human rights of actual or potential victims of trafficking and to cooperate fully with other relevant special rapporteurs, in particular the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, and to take full account of their contributions to the issue. The Commission also requested the Special Rapporteur to cooperate with relevant United Nations bodies, regional organizations and victims and their representatives. The Economic and Social Council, in its decision 2004/228, endorsed Commission on Human Rights’ decision 2004/110.
On 18 June 2008, the mandate of the Special Rapporteur has been extended for another three years by the Human Rights Council resolution 8/12.
In the discharge of his/her mandate, the Special Rapporteur:
a) Takes action on violations committed against trafficked persons and on situations in which there has been a failure to protect their human rights (See Individual complaints)
b) Undertakes country visits in order to study the situation in situ and formulate recommendations to prevent and or combat trafficking and protect the human rights of its victims in specific countries and/or regions
c) Submits annual reports on the activities of the mandate