Human Trafficking

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  • Many people have heard the term “human trafficking.” But many find it hard to explain precisely what it is.
  • According to the main international anti-trafficking law, known as the Palermo Protocol, human trafficking is defined 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.”
  • Human trafficking has three core components – the ‘act’, the ‘means’, and the ‘purpose’. The ‘act’ refers to the way in which the person is recruited or moved.
  • The ‘means’ is the coercion used to carry out the recruitment or movement, such as the threats or the force used, and includes deception. This could be when someone decides to makes a trip to take up a job, which doesn’t actually exist.
  • Finally, the ‘purpose’ refers to the motivation of the trafficker, the way in which they are seeking to exploit the victim. This could be for their labour, for sexual exploitation, or even for their organs.
  • All three of these components must be present in a case of human trafficking, a form of modern slavery. There is one exception.
  • In the case of children, human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, and/or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation. Only the ‘act’ and the ‘purpose’ are included on account of children’s vulnerability.
  • Human trafficking is different from “people smuggling”. Smugglers transport people so that they can reach a destination, usually illegally and for a fee. Sometimes a person pays to be smuggled but finds on arrival, that they have been trafficked into exploitation.
  • Human trafficking is low risk, profitable crime. Out of the 196 countries in the world, 136 have criminalised human trafficking. However, there are few prosecutions, making it a crime with little deterrent.

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