15 years down the road
Today, there are many more organizations working on trafficking than before and a significant increase in funding for anti-trafficking work. Research has been conducted and reports written on the situation of trafficking virtually in all parts of the world. In 2000, an internationally recognised definition of human trafficking was created, and today many countries are working towards national legislations in accordance with the Palermo Protocol.
Even with such progress, we are still a long way from achieving human rights protection for trafficked persons. Year after year, every report on the situation of trafficking claims that the problem is getting worse. Anyone working on the ground knows that it is incredibly difficult to identify a trafficked person, so how do we actually know or monitor the problem? Reliable statistics on trafficking are scarce, due to the underground nature of the crime.
Migrants continue to take dangerous risks because of a lack of legal and safe channels to find work in another country or a lack of adequate information about the situation in the destination country. This means the risk for trafficking continues. However, many migrant workers whose experience has some elements of trafficking are reluctant to be labelled as a "victim of trafficking" for that would mean immediate or eventual deportation.
Many colleagues are of the opinion that unless a sustained advocacy for the rights of all migrants is launched, human trafficking will continue to increase. Another concern raised by human rights activists is the violation of the rights of migrants, trafficked persons or sex workers caused by zealous anti-trafficking efforts.
It is time we take stock of our work, consolidate the gains and find new strategies to address persistent problems.