By JENNIFER OWOBU/GLORIA ONI
Human Trafficking is the trade in humans, most commonly for the purpose of sexual slavery, forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others, or for the extraction of organs or tissues, including surrogacy and Ova or uterus removal, or for providing a spouse in the context of forced marriage.
Human trafficking can occur within a country or trans-nationally. Human trafficking is a crime against the person because of the violation of the victim’s rights of movement through coercion and because of their commercial exploitation. Human trafficking is the trade in people, and does not necessarily involve the movement of the person from one place to another.
The scourge represents an estimated $31.6 billion of international trade per annum in 2010. It is thought to be one of the fastest – growing activities of transnational criminal organizations, and is condemned as a violation of human rights by international convention. In addition, human trafficking is subject to a directive in the European Union.
Although it can occur at local levels, it has transnational implications, as recognized by the United Nations in the protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children (also referred to as the trafficking protocol), an international agreement under the UN convention against Transnational Organized Crime (CTOC), which entered into force on 25, December 2003. The protocol is one of three which supplement the (CTOC). The Trafficking Protocol is the first global, legally binding instrument on trafficking in over half a century, and the only one with an agreed – upon definition of trafficking in persons. One of its purposes is to facilitate international cooperation in investigating and prosecuting such trafficking. Another is to protest and assist human trafficking’s victims with full respect for their rights as established in the universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Human trafficking differs from people smuggling, which involves a person voluntarily requesting or hiring another individual to covertly transport them across an international border, usually because the smuggled person would be denied entry into a country by legal channels. Though illegal, there may be no deception or coercion involved. After entry into the country and arrival at their ultimate destination, the smuggled person is usually free to find their own way.
According to the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), people smuggling is a violation of national immigration laws of the destination country, and does not require violation of the rights of the smuggled person. Human trafficking, on the other hand, is a crime against a person because of the violation of the victims rights through coercion and exploitation. Unlike most cases of people smuggling, victims of human trafficking are not permitted to leave upon arrival at their destination. While smuggling requires travels, trafficking does not. Trafficking people are held against their will through acts of coercion, and forced to work for or provide services to the trafficker or others. The work or services include anything from bonded or forced labour to commercial sexual exploitation. The arrangement may be structured as a work contract, but with no or low payment, or on terms which are highly exploitative. Sometimes the arrangement is structured as debt bondage with the victim not being permitted or able to pay off the debt.
Bonded labor, or debt bondage, is probably the least known form of labour trafficking today, and yet it is the most widely used method of enslaving people. Victims become “bonded” when their labor is demanded as a means of repayment for a loan or service in which its terms and conditions have not been defined or in which the value of the victim services is not applied toward the liquidation of the debt. Generally, the value of their work is greater than the original sum of money “borrowed.”
Forced labor is a situation in which victim are forced to work against their own will under the threat of violence or some other form of punishment; their freedom is restricted and a degree of ownership is exerted. Men are at risk of being trafficked for unskilled work, which globally generates 31 billion USD according to the international Labour Organization. Forms of forced labour can include domestic servitude, agricultural labor, sweatshop factory labor, and begging some of the products produced by forced labor are: clothing, cocoa, bricks, coffee, cotton, and gold, among others.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM), the single largest global provided of services to victims of trafficking, report receiving an increasing number of forced labour. A 2012 study observers that “2010 was particularly notable as the first year in which IOM assisted more victims of labour trafficking than those who had been trafficked for purposes of sexual exploitation.
Child Labour is a form of work that is likely to be hazardous to the physical, mental, spiritual, moral, or social development of children and can interfere with their education. According to the International Labour Organization, the global number of children involved in child labour has fallen down during the past decade – it has declined by one third, from 246 million in 2000 to 168 million in 2012. Sub Saharan-Africa is the region with the highest incidence of child labour, while the largest numbers of child – workers are found in Asia and the pacific.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), has further assisted many non-governmental organizations in their fight against human trafficking. The 2006 armed conflict in Lebanon, which saw 300,000 domestic workers from Sri Lanka, Ethiopia and the phillipines jobless and largest of traffickers, led to an emergency information campaign with NGO caritas Migrant to raise human-trafficking awareness. Additionally, in April 2006 report, Trafficking in persons: Global Patterns, helped to identify 127 countries of origin, 98 transit countries and 137 destination countries for human trafficking.
To date, it is the second most frequently down loaded UNODC report, continuing into 2007, UNODC supported initiative like the community vigilance project along the border between India and Nepal, as well as provided subsidy for NGO trafficking prevention campaigns in Basnia, croatia, and Herzegovia. Public service announcements have also proved useful for organizations combating human trafficking. In addition to many other endeavours, UNODC works to broadcast these announcements on local television and radio stations cross the world. By providing regular access to information regarding human – trafficking, individuals are educated how to protect themselves and their families from being exploited.
The United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT) was conceived to promote the global fight on human trafficking on the basis of international agreement reached at the UN. GIFT was launched in March 2007 by UNODC with a grant made on behalf of the United Arab Emirates. It is managed in cooperation with the International Labour Organization (ILO); the International Organization for Migration (IOM); the UN children’s Fund (UNICEF); the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
Within UN. GIFT, UNODC launched a research exercise to gather primary data on national responses to trafficking in persons world wide. This exercise resulted in the publication of the Global Report on Trafficking persons in in February 2009. the report gathers official information for 155 countries and territories in the areas of legal and institutional frame-work, criminal Justice response and victim assistance services.
UN. GIFT, works with all stakeholders – government, business, academic, Civil Society and the media – to support each other is work, create new partnerships, and develop effective tools to fight human trafficking. The Global Initiative is based on a simple principle: Human Trafficking is a crime of such magnitude and atrocity that cannot be dealt with successfully by any government alone. This global problem requires a global, multi-stakeholder strategy that builds on national efforts throughout the world. to pave the way for this strategy, stakeholders must coordinate efforts already underway, increase knowledge and awareness, provide technical assistance, promote effective rights – based responses, built capacity of state and non-state stakeholders, foster partnership for joint action, and above all, ensure that everybody takes responsibility for this fight. By encouraging and facilitating cooperation and coordination, UN. GIFT, aims to create synergies among the anti-trafficking activities of UN agencies, international organizations and other stakeholders to develop the most efficient and cast – effective tools and good practices.
UN. GIFT aims to mobilize state and non-state actors to eradicate human trafficking by reducing both the vulnerability of potential victims and the demand for exploitation in all its forms, ensuring adequate protection and support to those who fall victim, and supporting the efficient prosecution of the criminals involved, while respecting the fundamental human rights of all persons. In carrying out its mission, UN. GIFT will increase the knowledge and awareness on human trafficking, promote effective rights –based responses, build capacity of state and non-state actors, and foster partnership for joint action against human trafficking.
UNODC efforts to motivate action launched the Blue Heart Campaign Against Human Trafficking on March 6, 2009, which Mexico launched its own national version of it in April 2010. The campaign encourages people to show solidarity with human trafficking victims by warning the blue heart, similar to how wearing the red ribbon promotes transnational HIV?AIDS awareness.
On November 4, 2010, U.N. Secretary – General Ban Ki-Moon launched the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for victims of Trafficking in persons to provide humanitarian, legal and financial aids to victims of human trafficking with the aim of increasing the number of those rescued and supported, and broadening the extent of assistance they receive.
In December 2012, UNODC published the new edition of the Global Report on Trafficking in persons. The Global Report on Trafficking in persons, 2012 has received their 27 percent of all victims of human trafficking officially delete global between 2007 and 2010 are children, up to 7 percent from the period 2003 to 2006.
The Global Report recorded victims of 136 different nationalities deleted in 118 countries between 2007 and 2010, during which period, 460 different flows were identified. Around half of all trafficking took place within the same region with 27 percent occurring within national borders. One exception is the middle East, where most detected victims are East and South Asians. Trafficking victims from East Asia have been detected in more than 60 countries, making them the most geographically dispersed group around the world.
There are significant regional differences in detected forms of exploitation. Countries in African and in Asia generally intercept more cases of trafficking for forced labour, while sexual exploitation is more frequently found in Europe and in the America. Additionally, trafficking for organ removal was detected in 16 countries around the world.
The Report raises concerns about low conviction rates – 16 percent of reporting countries did not record a single conviction for trafficking in persons between 2007 and 2010. As at August 2014, 164 countries have ratified the United Nations Trafficking in persons protocol of which UNODC is the guardian. Significant progress has been made in terms of legislation: as of 2012, 83 percent of countries had a low criminality trafficking in persons in accordance with the protocol.