30 July: International Day against Human Trafficking

Gulf European Centre for Human Rights


30 July: International Day against Human Trafficking


30th July 2019   


Human trafficking is a crime of exploitation of women, children and men for various purposes, including forced labour and prostitution. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates the number of victims of forced labour in the world at 21 million, including victims of sexual exploitation. While it is unknown how many of the victims have been trafficked, but it is estimated that millions of people are in the midst of such shameful practices in the world.

All countries in the world are affected by the phenomenon of human trafficking, whether originating countries, transit points or destinations. In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Global Plan of Action to Combat Human Trafficking and urged governments around the world to take concerted and coordinated measures to defeat this social scourge. The plan urged that the fight against human trafficking must be incorporated into United Nations programs in an expanded manner to promote human development and support security around the world. One of the issues covered in the United Nations plan was the establishment of the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking, especially women and children.

In 2013, the General Assembly held a high-level meeting to assess the Global Plan of Action to combat human trafficking. Member States adopted resolution A / RES / 68/192, in which it was recognised that 30 July of each year would be considered as a World Day against Human Trafficking. This resolution represents a global declaration of the need to raise awareness of human trafficking and to raise awareness and promote and protect the rights of victims of human trafficking.

In September 2015, the world adopted the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, including targets and aims on human trafficking. The goals call for an end to child trafficking and violence against women, as well as calls for necessary measures against human trafficking, and it aims to end and exploit all forms of violence against women.

An important development that followed was the convening of the United Nations Summit on Refugees and Migrants, which was launched by the New York Declaration. Of the 19 commitments adopted by countries in the Declaration, three are concerned with decisive action against human trafficking and smuggling of migrants.

We call on the countries of the world to work to prevent human trafficking. Although many countries have legal legislation consistent with the Human Trafficking Protocol, this practice continues in many countries. It worth mentioning that victims are criminalised in many countries while those who practice such crimes are not facing any punished. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime therefore focuses on highlighting the importance of government action in relation to victim service. But calling for action is not only the responsibility of governments, and we encourage everyone to work to prevent this heinous crime.

International Law

Article 3, paragraph (a), of the Protocol defines trafficking in persons of various forms, including the recruitment, transfer, transfer or harbouring of persons for the purpose of exploitation or detention of persons by threat, use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception or Extortion, abuse of power, exploitation of positions of weakness, or giving of money or benefits motivated by the control of another person for the purpose of exploitation. Minimal exploitation includes the exploitation of persons in prostitution networks and other forms of sexual exploitation, free labour, forced labour, servitude, slavery or slavery-like practices, enslavement of persons for the purpose of physical use and removal of organs.

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 criminalisation of trafficking, the Trafficking in Persons Protocol requires criminalisation also of:

  • Attempts to commit a trafficking offence
  • Participation as an accomplice in such an offence
  • Organising 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)
  • Victimises children, women and men (Not just women, or adults, but also men and children)
  • Takes place with or without the involvement of organised crime groups.

Source: UNODC

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