Q: What is trafficking in persons?
- the movement of a person (inside a country or across borders)
- with deception or coercion
- into a situation of forced labour, servitude or slavery-like practices
Trafficking in persons involves the criminal manipulation of persons who want or need to migrate for a better life. It exists at the intersection of organised crime (small and large) and migration.
In many cases trafficking begins when a person voluntarily decides to migrate, but ends up being trafficked. Migrants are often forced by restrictive and complicated immigration laws to rely upon third parties to help them travel. If they are lucky, the person is honest; if they are unlucky, the person is a trafficker who will use all means necessary to ensure the submission of the ‘victim’ to his/her will. Trafficking also begins through recruitment, forced migration, purchase, sale or receipt of people. Following movement (whether forced or voluntary), through deception or coercion – including force, the threat of force or debt bondage – a person is then forced into an exploitative situation such as servitude, forced or bonded labour.
The first international definition of “trafficking in persons” was developed in 2000 as part of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC).
This Protocol 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 or organs”.