Many organisations, politicians and celebrities have joined the fight against human trafficking but have they stopped to consider the causes of the phenomenon and the human rights of those affected by it and/or by ill-judged actions to suppress it?
The UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (TNC) and its two Protocols on Trafficking and Smuggling, adopted in 2000, seek to distinguish between trafficking and smuggling. In reality these distinctions are often blurred. A more nuanced approach is needed to ensure protection for all those at risk.
While the prime responsibility for eliminating human trafficking rests with governments, a successful global strategy requires engagement of a wide range of stakeholders, including NGOs, the security sector, the public – and the business community.
There needs to be a common understanding of who the victims of trafficking are. Only then can the international community hope to improve its record in identification and protection of such individuals.
Trafficking of people within countries has been relatively neglected. Should those who are internally trafficked be regarded as IDPs?
In order to address the particular needs of child survivors of trafficking, much more needs to be known about their background, experiences and hopes.
In South Asia civil society organisations have led the way in encouraging governments to address the problem of human trafficking. A coordinated regional response by both governments and civil society organisations is urgently required.
Amidst the hype of globalisation-driven South Asian prosperity, the plight of the landless, illiterate and chronically poor remains forgotten. Among the most vulnerable losers are those who migrate in search of better livelihoods.
In October 2004 six countries - Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar/Burma, Thailand and Vietnam – joined hands in the battle against human trafficking in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS).
Agencies working to combat trafficking in Nepal need to develop a more coherent and collaborative strategy.
An estimated 100-500,000 persons are trafficked annually into Europe. Trafficking into, out of or within Europe is done overwhelmingly for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
Switzerland is committed to combating and preventing trafficking in human beings. Effective policy implementation in a federal structure depends on networking, effective information exchange and development of robust cooperation mechanisms.
The Dutch focus on the expulsion of undocumented migrants hinders the protection of victims of trafficking.
In southern Africa, trafficking of persons is a sensitive topic, frequently associated with irregular migration, prostitution or child labour. It is often approached in an ideological way without tackling its roots.
Readmission agreements between Nigeria and migrant destination countries fail to comply with international standards for the protection of migrants’ and trafficked persons’ rights.
More than a hundred years after slavery was formally abolished in Brazil, a modern-day version thrives.
The foundation set up by Puerto Rican superstar, Ricky Martin, is working to raise awareness on ways to prevent child trafficking and to assist its victims.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Aspects of the Victims of Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, recently visited Lebanon. Unlike many Arab states Lebanon has ratified the Palermo Protocol and has a vibrant civil society increasingly concerned about trafficking in persons.
Few know about the large numbers of Ethiopian women who migrate to the Middle East to take up domestic work.
Leading UK agencies have urged the UK government to do more to protect the victims of trafficking.
While the full extent of trafficking to the UK is not known, combating it has become a national priority in order to protect the victims, prosecute traffickers and raise public awareness to prevent it happening. Policymakers must realise that trafficking cannot be addressed through the lens of migration control.
Rule of law programmes usually take place after conflicts have ended. However, UNDP is pioneering a major initiative amidst ongoing conflict in Darfur.
How has the international community acquitted itself since the beginnings of orchestrated violence in Darfur in early 2003? Why did it take so long to gear up and why were humanitarians so unequal to the challenges posed by the crisis?
Given the prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence in Darfur, why are safe abortion services and treatment of complications resulting from unsafe abortions or miscarriages not provided at all refugee/IDP health facilities?
Western Equatoria is a focal point for Sudanese refugees returning from neighbouring Uganda, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Arriving with very little, they inevitably compound the poverty of their hosts. Without greater sensitivity, aid could exacerbate deep divisions.
Khartoum’s refusal to allow Jan Egeland, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, to visit Darfur – and the expulsion of the Norwegian Refugee Council from the troubled region – is further evidence of efforts by the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) to contain international engagement in Sudan.
The UN’s Pinheiro Principles represent the first consolidated global standard on the housing, land and property restitution rights of displaced people.
DG ECHO, the European Commission’s humanitarian aid department, pays special attention to helping the victims of ignored crises which often involve displaced populations living in exile for years or even decades.
Traditional diplomacy has failed to resolve the Western Sahara conflict. Is it time to adopt a multi-track approach to Africa’s last decolonialisation dispute?
Thousands of young Sahrawis spend summer holidays with Spanish families. The Vacaciones en Paz hosting programme has grown into a transnational network which allows Sahrawi youth to partially offset the hardships of their daily lives as refugees.
Are governments in the Asia-Pacific region doing enough to support those at risk of displacement from climate change? Should they be regarded as refugees?
The right to seek and enjoy asylum from persecution is under serious threat in the European Union. Fortifying Europe against asylum seekers risks encouraging the illegal labour market and trafficking in human beings.
Changes to UK asylum laws have left many asylum seekers without the legal representation they need.
UNHCR supports local integration as one possible solution for refugees who cannot return home. Experience in Mexico, Uganda and Zambia indicates that integration can benefit refugee-hosting communities as well as refugees.
UNHCR and its partners have been providing male condoms since the late 1990s. However, uptake remains alarmingly low. Will the agency be more successful in promoting the female condom, a female-initiated barrier method of contraception and disease prevention?
Political changes are underway in Aceh but only a small fraction of those displaced by the December 2004 tsunami or by earlier conflict with insurgents have returned home.