UN rights expert urges focus on victims of human trafficking

[JURIST] The UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons [official website], especially women and children, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo [official profile] on Tuesday urged [press release] the international community to focus on the human rights of trafficked individuals when criminalizing and prosecuting human trafficking. Ezeilo noted in her report [text, PDF] that criminalization of trafficking is not the end itself, but an effective prosecution of such offenses should be implemented. Criminal justice and victim support agencies should work closely together to make the anti-trafficking effort more effective. The Special Rapporteur also provided recommendations of how penalties should be imposed on trafficking perpetrators. According to her, an effective penalty would be "proportionate to the offence committed, and proceeds from the crime should be confiscated." States were cautioned about unintentional detrimental effects laws and regulations may have on trafficked individuals, such as involuntary detentions based on protective measures.

Last week, the European Commission [official website] announced that it plans to end human trafficking in Europe [JURIST report]. The commission identified poverty, gender inequality and social unrest as key factors leading to risk of human trafficking. The 40-point plan is going to be implemented during the next five years by the member states with the purpose of achieving the five main goals of 1) identifying, protecting and assisting victims of trafficking; 2) stepping up the prevention of trafficking in human beings; 3) increased prosecution of traffickers; 4) enhanced coordination and cooperation among key actors and policy coherence and 5) increased knowledge of and effective response to emerging concerns related to all forms of trafficking in human beings. In April, the UN urged [JURIST report] the international community to increase its effort to stop human trafficking. It was estimated that at least 2.4 million individuals could be victims of human trafficking at any given moment. Last August, Thailand was called to improve its measures to combat human trafficking including sexual and labor exploitation especially of children.

 

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