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Combating Human trafficking

Human trafficking is a serious crime and best described as a process where individuals are placed or maintained in an exploitative situation for economic gain. International efforts to prevent it were made as early as the nineteenth century. However, it is only over the past two decades that a comprehensive legal framework has developed around the issue.

Despite the existence of a comprehensive international legal framework, millions of children, women and men continue to be trafficked within a country or across a border, in all regions and in most countries of the world.

Human rights are universal and they apply to everybody, regardless of their sex, age, race, ethnic origin, nationality, migratory status or other distinction. International human rights law recognizes that certain groups, such as women and children, require additional or special protection. In the trafficking cycle, lots of disruptions are made. For instance, the violation of the right to an adequate standard of living, lead to increased vulnerability of a person.

Trafficking involves many different kinds of exploitation, such as forced prostitution, forced marriage, unfree labor, removal of organs, slavery and similar practices. It occurs both within the country and across borders and victims can be adults as well as children. It is noted that women, children and minorities are particularly sensitive groups when it comes to human trafficking and revictimization. This vulnerability is further exacerbated by poverty, wars, under development and lack of equal opportunity.

In times of international crisis, the rates of human trafficking and exploitation rise sharply due to the increased number of people who lose their financial stability, support, their homes, their families and are thus rendered vulnerable to the predatory behavior of the traffickers.

The fundamental right to freedom is being denied to the victims of human trafficking, whose number is estimated to be over 25 million worldwide. The victims are stripped of their basic human rights and forced to live enslaved and work for the benefit and profit of their exploiter.

Middle East, Western Europe and North America are most common destinations when it comes to transregional trafficking while Sub-Saharan Africa and East and South Asia are origin areas for this crime. Transregional trafficking is a challenging matter for the Human Rights Council as it is difficult to track down the offenders and determine the destination country of the victims. 

Among critical countries fighting against trafficking in persons, Libya, Sudan, Nigeria, Iran and many others were included in the 2020 CSPA list

Pakistan, China, India, and Bangladesh are in the top 10 for countries with the largest number of trafficking victims around the world. India is a major hub for trafficked women from Bangladesh and Nepal. It is estimated that about 40% of sex workers in India are trafficked children, mostly girls from ethnic minorities and lower castes. Within China, well-organized syndicates and local gangs recruit Chinese women and girls from rural areas and take them to urban centers, using false promises of job offers, imposing large travel fees, confiscating passports, confining them or physically and financially threatening the victims.

United Nations Human Rights Council has been working on international and regional cooperation in the fight against human trafficking for many years. In collaboration with ICAT (The Inter-agency Coordination Group against Trafficking) many documents have been published and also good collaborations have been made with Sudan and Bangladesh that reported high incidences of kidnappings and trafficking. On 15th of November in 2000 the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations and represents the main international instrument in the fight against transnational crime. It consists of three Protocols which are Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children. The United Nations Human Rights Office has developed Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights and Human Trafficking and also Commentary that aim to help combating trafficking. UN Human Rights Council is not the only one fighting against trafficking. There are UNHCR (The UN Refugee Agency) and UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) which take a big role in combating this global crime. 

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