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Human Trafficking Legislation-Part 3 International Provisions and Conclusions

Updated on February 19, 2013

There is not a specific international law which governs human trafficking. However there is a certain protocol that was established by the United Nations in the year 2003 which specifically addresses the issue of human trafficking called the Palermo Protocol. The protocol was framed in a response to the lack of an international instrument which addresses all aspects of trafficking and in order to prevent and combat human trafficking focusing in particular on women and children. By 2009, 117 countries had signed the Palermo Protocol.

It mandates each country to:

  1. Pass legislation in order to criminalize human trafficking

  2. Protect the victims of human trafficking by:

    1. Protecting the privacy and identity of the victims

    2. Providing information on court and administrative proceedings

    3. Assurance that the victim’s views and concerns be presented at the criminal proceeding in a way that is non-prejudicial to the defense

  3. Implement measures to aid the victim in physical, psychological, and social recovery by:

    1. Providing appropriate housing

    2. Providing medical assistance

    3. Providing employment, educational, and training opportunities

  4. Ensure the victim’s physical well-being

  5. Provide measures by which the victim will be compensated for the damage suffered

  6. Consider adopting legislation which allows foreign victims to stay within its territory’s borders on a temporary or permanent basis

  7. Facilitate victims back into their country of origin, but only on a voluntary basis

  8. Employ research initiatives, mass media campaigns, and social and economic initiatives to prevent trafficking

  9. Partner with non-governmental agencies

  10. Attempt to alleviate factors which leave women and children vulnerable such as poverty and unequal opportunity

  11. Discern if individuals using false documents to get into the country are perpetrators or trafficking victims

  12. Provide immigration officials and law enforcement agencies with specialized training

  13. Strengthen border controls

  14. Issue identification and travel documents that are not easily replicated, misused, or altered

Within the last decade, significant steps have been made to put legislation into place which attempts to prevent and combat trafficking. Before the year 2000, no such laws existed that even criminalized human trafficking. The legislation represents definite progress, but there is still much progress to be made. Laws need to be amended so that they are easier to prosecute under as well as harsher sentencing for perpetrators of human trafficking must be put into place if this epidemic is to be eliminated. Further conclusions are that the United States needs to amend its laws on the federal and state level to where they are consistent with one another. Where there are inconsistencies between the laws, it provides criminals with loopholes. Also, confusion prevails in the judicial system amongst attorneys and judges as to how to apply the law. If uncertainty rests in this area, prosecution will continue to remain elusive. Where there are not state laws, legislation needs to be passed immediately. Each state needs to lawfully mandate a budget which funds public awareness campaigns, law enforcement and judicial training, and victim restoration of both foreign and domestic victims.

Pertaining to international efforts, since human trafficking is an industry of global capacity taking place between countries, it is imperative countries cooperate to bring an international consistency between each nation’s human trafficking laws. For countries which lack laws, they need to be passed immediately. Although the United States TVPA allocates certain funding to foreign assistance, the amount is strikingly insignificant in comparison with the issue. $83 million scattered between ninety different countries contributing to projects which cannot be defined is hardly scratching the surface of a $40 billion industry which currently holds 158, 000,000 child victims with countless needs. Furthermore, undefined projects erode agency accountability. Specific goals need to be set for each country to be accomplished over a certain period of time. Strategies which are tailored to each country’s particular needs are imperative if progress is to be made.

Currently, six different national agencies are working to fight human trafficking, but these agencies are not working together. This leaves opportunity for efforts that are repetitious and without strategy. As stated previously about the law, consistency is the key. If agencies would come under one umbrella, combining their man power and finances to develop tactful strategies, the crime of human trafficking could be drastically reduced.


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