Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Worldwide Look at Human Trafficking

How are the countries of the world dealing with human trafficking?

ctwidget3The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime have released a Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2012 where they extensively tackle how the countries of the world are dealing with child and human trafficking – what they are doing to prevent it and to punish it. According to this report, at least “136 different nationalities were trafficked and detected in 118 different countries”. So how are these 136 countries dealing with human trafficking?
Unfortunately, we are seeing shockingly low conviction rates for human trafficking in most countries around the world. In 16% of the countries covered in this report, not a single human trafficking conviction was recorded between 2007 and 2010. These are disturbing numbers, but by knowing about them we can finally move in the right direction and convince Governments around the world to do a better job at apprehending, prosecuting and convicting human traffickers.
The first step is to introduce laws that criminalise trafficking – as of 2012, “134 countries and territories had enacted legislation criminalising trafficking (and) the percentage of countries without an offence criminalising this activity halved between 2008 and 2012.”
Most countries are agreeing that something has to be done about trafficking: the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, (read more here) received the needed 40 ratifications by 2003. As the report points out, by 2012, 152 United Nations Member States had ratified the Trafficking in Persons Protocol.
However, even though more and more countries are taking action against trafficking and awareness has grown significantly over the years, conviction rates are still alarmingly low. The report points out three significant challenges to the implementation of the Protocol:
- The lack of knowledge and awareness of human trafficking
- The lack of capacity to address it
- The lack of evaluation to assess the impact of action
Since the Trafficking in Persons Protocol has been adopted in 2003, many countries around the world have made significant process. For example, before 2003, several countries didn’t have any legislation in place that addressed human trafficking.
The Trafficking In Persons Report 2013 has the exact numbers of global law enforcement data:
Countries around the world are categorised into 3 different tiers, depending on how fully they comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’ minimum standards (TVPA) and what efforts they are making to get into compliance with those standards: Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 2 watch list and Tier 3, Tier 3 being where the countries aren’t fully complying with the TVPA’s minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.
Unfortunately, there are still quite a few countries that are in Tier 3, most of them located in Africa. Countries in Tier 1 are, unsurprisingly, the richest and most developed countries in the world, such as the US and Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Germany and other similar countries.
While these numbers highlight how much still needs to be done, in the end we are making progress – and we will continue to do so by raising awareness, fighting for the implementation and the amending of legislation against human trafficking and by bringing the subject at the attention of the world.
If you want to learn more about child trafficking and other forms of exploitation of children, as well as what types of support can be offered, come and join us for the first global online Counter Child Trafficking Conference between 16-18 October 2013. No need to travel! Just register here and access and participate in over 40 online sessions completely free.
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