Human trafficking is an evil and gross violation of human rights which occurs all over the world. Since it has a multifaceted cross-border nature, the fight against human trafficking should have a well-coordinated international, national and multi-disciplinary nature.
UN Trafficking Protocol for the prevention, suppression and punishment of human trafficking offenders provides an excellent road map for collaboration among different states as well as proposals for enacting useful domestic human trafficking policies and laws.
In order to effectively deal with the matter that grossly violates human rights, it’s important for all countries to ratify the three major protocols of the UN Convention against – Transnational Organized Crime, especially the UN Trafficking Protocol.
It’s also necessary for countries to have unified comprehensive policies and laws which address different elements of human trafficking.
Legal and policy review for human trafficking
The following are legal and policy reviews that can be adopted by countries in order to effectively fight human trafficking:
1. Better ratification status
It’s important for individual states to ratify major conventions like UN Protocols and UNTOC in order to establish more standardized systems of anti-trafficking structures for dealing with cross-border and domestic trafficking.
2. Clear definitions
In addition to the ratification of major conventions, individual states should also have clear definitions concerning human trafficking, definition of a child and what organized crime is. These should be consistent with definitions contained in the UN Protocols and UNTOC.
Legislative arms of the governments should modify existing domestic laws to incorporate these definitions.
3. Labor standards
There is need for countries to improve labor standards so as to discourage trafficking of labor and curtail the huge demand for cheap and illegal labor.
They should also effect recommendations by ILO Convention concerning the abolition of worst types of labor.
4. Corporative mechanisms
There is general need to strengthen cooperative mechanisms at both cross-border and domestic levels via methods detailed in the UN Protocols (especially Articles 9 & 10).
They should be incorporated into training programs for prosecutors, domestic laws, workshops of judges and magistrates and police training programs, etc, to cultivate systems of working together to fight cross-border trafficking.
5. Audit of local mechanisms and institutions
System audits of existing institutions should be conducted to ascertain that people who are charged with responsibility of fighting the trafficking menace are aware of their duties and responsibilities, are properly trained and sensitized to execute them and any other duties that they have are rationalized to allow them to effectively discharge their mandate.
Governments can also consider appointing nodal agencies to carry out the auditing functions. The agencies will then propose viable reforms to structures, policies and laws to enhance protection, prosecution and prevention of human trafficking offenses.
Human trafficking must be regarded as organized crime in substantive criminal law and criminal procedure. Principles like conspiracy and common intention must be applied while prosecuting cases in court.
There must be more prosecutions of people who are suspected of committing such crimes.
Criminal cases regarding human trafficking must be prosecuted in designated courts. Judges and magistrates who handle the cases should also be properly sensitized and trained.
People who are employed in implementing agencies should be properly trained on how to prevent possible occurrences.
All the recruitment and employment agencies ought to be closely monitored.
Awareness and capacity building campaigns should be conducted in communities to enlighten vulnerable people on the dangers of human trafficking.