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The Institute for Domestic and International Affairs, Inc.

Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Human Trafficking Director: Ben DeMarzo

Š 2006 Institute for Domestic & International Affairs, Inc. (IDIA) This document is solely for use in preparation for Philadelphia Model United Nations 2007. Use for other purposes is not permitted without the express written consent of IDIA. For more information, please write us at

Introduction _________________________________________________________________ 1 Background _________________________________________________________________ 2 Current Status _______________________________________________________________ 5 Key Positions ________________________________________________________________ 8 United States and Canada __________________________________________________________ 8 Latin America and the Caribbean ___________________________________________________ 9 Europe __________________________________________________________________________ 9 Asia____________________________________________________________________________ 10 Africa __________________________________________________________________________ 11

Summary___________________________________________________________________ 12 Discussion Questions _________________________________________________________ 13 Works Cited ________________________________________________________________ 14

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Introduction Since the beginning of recorded history, humans have engaged in the practice of slavery. While the trans-Atlantic African slave trade has ended and all nations have officially abolished slavery, the practice still exists in the form of human trafficking. Human trafficking, while kept quiet, is very real in the contemporary world. While war, nuclear weapons, and AIDS take headlines in the news everyday, the sad stories of the thousands of human beings smuggled around the world goes untold. About half of the people trafficked each year are children, and roughly 80 per cent are female.1 The international community has taken some action to address this issue. In 1926, the League of Nations created a declaration against the slave trade.2 In 1999 the United Nations began the Global Programme against Trafficking in Human Beings, which pledges to fight the contemporary slave trade. In Africa, children are trafficked into forced labor for mining diamonds and precious resources from the ground in Sierra Leone.

Children are treated like a

commodity, and, with no education, have no alternative but to work in the mines.3 Women in villages are promised job opportunities in the cities, but instead are sent to urban brothels. These practices continue because government officials receive payoffs or have a stake in the profits themselves. Some countries realize that without child labor, the prices of their goods would be too high to sell. Internal wars and ethnic conflict, such as the situation in Darfur, also make it easier to kidnap and a child into trafficking. While there are many causes for human trafficking, solutions are less concrete. The U.S. Department of State has taken a leading role in spreading information about human traffickers, and advocates the use of media as a part of the solution. Harsh


“Trafficking in Persons Report.” United States Department of State. 3 June 2005. <> 2 “Slavery Convention of 1926.” UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. 9 March 1927. <> 3 Fofana Lansana. “Children Working in Sierra Leone Mines.” BBC News. 28 August 2003.

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punishments are necessary to deter traffickers who may fear the risk of being extradited to the US for sentencing.4 Perhaps the most effective strategy that has been developed to confront this practice has been to focus on the needs of the trafficked people, instead of the motives of the traffickers, themselves. The development of infrastructure and access to education are crucial steps to giving women and children an alternative to the deceptive promises of smugglers. While every regional organization and many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have taken some steps towards solving the problem, the UN must develop more concrete methods of stopping human trafficking. Legislation, conventions, and ad hoc committees do not do enough to help the hundreds of thousands of victims who are brought into the slave trade each year. A unique approach must be created that takes into account the causes, effects, and forms of punishment for this problem.

Background The first legislation to address human trafficking was the Slavery Convention passed the League of Nations in 1926 with the goal of enforcing the end of African slavery. The convention declared that every signatory must adopt laws banning slavery within its territory and prevent any future slave-like conditions within its borders.5 In 1956






Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, in which it addressed debt bondage, serfdom and child labor. Ratifying states are responsible for making sure none of their ports, borders, or airfields

Debt Bondage: Debt bondage or bonded labor is a means of paying off a family's loans via the labor of family members or heirs. It is either a kind of indenture or truck system, and is therefore also a form of un-free labor. Historically, in the USA, it is also sometimes called peonage.

are used to support any form of slavery and that


â&#x20AC;&#x153;Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery.â&#x20AC;? US Department of International Labor Affairs. 5 Slavery Convention of 1926, Op Cit.

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states work together to catch smugglers.6 The Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others was the first international resolution to deal specifically with human trafficking, focusing primarily on women trafficked into the sex trade. Resolution 49/166, passed in 1994, updated this resolution, condemning the: Illicit and clandestine movement of persons across national and international borders…with the end goal of forcing women and girl children into sexually or economically oppressive situations…as well as other illegal activities…such as forced domestic labour, false marriages, clandestine employment, and false adoption.7

The United Nations began the Global Programme Against Trafficking in Human Beings (GPAT) in 1999. Under this program, the objective of the UN and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) is to investigate the involvement of organized criminal groups in human trafficking, and develop an effective response.8 GPAT collects intelligence on smuggling routes, methods, and suspected smugglers and shares this information with various governments. A major enforcement technique required by GPAT is effective border security. Member States are required to check passports and travel documents for validity, as smugglers often create fraudulent documents.9 In 2000, the UN provided specific definitions in the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, defining human trafficking as the “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by use of force, abduction or fraud…for the purpose of exploitation.”10

The protocol is useful because it deals specifically with the

circumstances of violence, intimidation, and exploitation that characterize trafficking. The protocol also requires states to assist and protect victims of trafficking through temporary residence, assurance of safety, and psychological support. However, several


“Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery.” Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. 30 April 1956. < 7 Van den Anker, op. cit., 63. 8 “Trafficking in Human Beings.” UN Office on Drugs and Crime. 9 Ibid. 10 Miers, Op. Cit., 207.

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questions remain, such as how to punish traffickers, how to provide victims with economic remediation, and the transportation of victims back to their home country. The purposes of human trafficking are usually rooted in the selling of migrant workers, child labor, or the sex trade. Smugglers deceive parents into thinking they will provide their children educational opportunities and jobs, allowing them to escape a life of poverty.11 These children are then sold into prostitution or forced into slave labor. Sometimes, parents faced with extreme poverty are forced to make the extremely difficult decision to sell their children into trafficking as a last resort to finance their own survival. In much of the world, families have children to provide for the economic well-being of the family as they grow older and work in the fields. During challenging economic times, these children can also be veritably sold into the trafficking and slave labor markets, offering parents necessary financial gain.

Commercial sex exploitation is

widespread in Africa; in Uganda, for example, many girls are trafficked from villages into urban centers, where they are forced to work in brothels. Uganda’s Lords Resistance Army is also responsible for abducting children in the Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and villages in Uganda for use as soldiers in their cause.12 Economic poverty is the main source of child trafficking in Western Africa. In Benin, for example, Nigerian trade restrictions caused a surplus in agricultural products like cotton, leading market prices to plummet and sending many citizens of Benin into desperate financial situations. Widespread poverty helps fuel organized crime and human trafficking.13

Traffickers convince parents that their children have no educational

opportunities where they are currently living, and that there are educational opportunities elsewhere. In fact, traffickers offer to bring their children to Western countries and promise an education and job support, but instead they force the children into sweatshops, hard labor, or the sex industry in neighboring countries.


“Trafficking in Children: West and Central Africa.” United States International Information Programs. December 2002. 12 Ibid. 13 “Trafficking in Human Beings,” Op. Cit.

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Conflict zones and areas of extreme poverty are especially vulnerable. Governments concerned with internal wars weaken their border control, allowing traffickers to easily kidnap women and children. Warfare and devastation caused by the fighting in Darfur, for example, has made the Sudan an easy target for human traffickers. Human displacement, a lack of educational materials, and destroyed infrastructure present few opportunities to women and children looking for work. The Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), abducts children and forces them to become soldiers at young ages.14 Women are kidnapped and transported to the Middle East and around the world as sex slaves or domestic servants. Girls are not the only ones at risk. In West Africa, families also entrust their boys to marabouts, Muslim religious teachers who teach them about the Koran.

In return, the boys do chores for the marabout and

community. However, sometimes men that pose as marabouts from neighboring villages are actually traffickers, and kidnap the children.15 Human trafficking does not always cross borders. The plight of children in Cote d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone is similar to that of children in many African nations: children are kidnapped and forced to work in mines and on plantations in other parts of the country. Recently, the media has become more involved in spreading information about “blood diamonds,” or diamonds mined in Africa by children that are then sold to finance the purchase of arms to support domestic conflicts.16 The conditions in the mines are extremely dangerous and detrimental to their health. Some of these children have few work alternatives, and only have the choice of working in mines or starving to death.

Current Status The United States estimates that 600,000 to 800,000 people are smuggled across international borders each year, and up to 50 per cent of those are minors.17 A majority of trafficked persons are forced into the sex trade, but many are also sold as a repayment 14

“Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery.” US Department of International Labor Affairs. 15 Van den Anker, Op. Cit 58. 16 Fofana, Op. Cit. 17 “Trafficking in Persons Report,” Op. Cit.

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of debt. Several methods to combat human trafficking have been proposed, however. South Africa has launched a global campaign calling for governments to create an effective registration system for children when they are born. In this manner, children will be permanently recorded by their government, and it will become considerably more difficult to transport them across state borders. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child requires this, however many nations are not participating. According to the South African study, up to 55 per cent of births in sub-Saharan Africa go unrecorded, making it difficult to account for children kidnapped by traffickers.18 This situation is also a problem in Algeria, where many families migrate to European nations. It is easier for traffickers to kidnap children who have just traveled to a new place because no one notices their absence. Without accurate birth records, there is no proof of identity for trafficked children; thus once a child is kidnapped, there is no way of proving that the child actually exists in the first place. It is essential that states enforce the process of documenting births in order to account for their child population and thus make it much more difficult for traffickers to “steal” children without consequence. Utilizing the media to expose human trafficking is also crucial. The African population is generally unaware of the dangers of trafficking and the tricks traffickers employ; thus, it is easy for citizens to be tricked into giving themselves or their children up to traffickers, believing lies and promises of jobs or schooling. News outlets and government- or UN-sponsored media plans, including the development and widespread distribution of documentaries and pamphlets, can be effectively utilized to educate the general population on the reality of human trafficking and the strategies of traffickers. Once people are aware of the danger and reality of human trafficking, they will be less likely to trust strangers with the transportation of themselves and their children and will be more skeptical of the promises traffickers make. The media is also able to expose the issue of human trafficking to the world community as a whole. Recently, international news outlets covered a story of a ship containing thirty children from Benin being 18

“Tutu Calls for Child Registration.” BBC News. 22 February 2005. <>

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shipped to Gabon to work as domestic servants.19 News stories such as this one can make the realities of human trafficking in Africa known to the developed world, leading to public outcry for developed governments to take action to aid Africa in its struggle to curb the trafficking problem. Since these governments are not directly affected by trafficking in Africa, they have little incentive to get involved. If constituents call for government action, however, positive steps are much more likely to be taken, as governments depend on public support for reelection. NGOs are also an important part in the fight against international human trafficking. Groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International publish data regarding human rights abuses and individual accounts of trafficking. By spreading this information, these groups increase awareness and put a human face on the problem. Anti-Slave International also works with other NGOs and governments to promote programs









website is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, and releases information and personal accounts on human trafficking. The U.S. hopes to provide enforcement and punishment techniques that other nations can adopt to bring smugglers to justice.21 The UN recommends approaching the problem by recognizing its causes. Government corruption, a lack of education, and extreme poverty lure traffickers to vulnerable regions. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in Africa, children are twice as likely to be trafficked as women.22 If governments are more accountable and take a more active role in protecting children and prosecuting smugglers, then smugglers are less likely to enter the region. Educated children also have more opportunities, making a trafficker’s false promises of a job in Europe or the United States less alluring. Economic initiatives such as microfinance can also reduce poverty and debt 19

Van den Anker, op. cit., 65. “Trafficking in Human Beings,” Op. Cit. 21 “Approaches to Combat Trafficking.” US Department of Education. <> 22 “Trafficking in Human Beings,” Op. Cit. 20

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caused by loan sharks, which would in turn decrease the amount of children sold as part of debt repayment.23

If farmers are able to receive small loans, they may avoid

accumulating massive debt and being put in a situation in which selling a child to traffickers is the only solution to survive. The UN must also address effective means of gathering intelligence on and capturing human traffickers. Because traffickers transport people from one state to another, trafficking becomes a transnational issue, forcing states to cooperate in the arrest and prosecution of these individuals. An internationally accepted method of tracking and punishment is both appropriate and important to effectively curbing trafficking.

Key Positions United States and Canada The U.S. has taken a leading role in fighting human trafficking. In June 2005, the U.S. Department of State released the Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP), a country by country study on the causes and effects of human trafficking as well as potential solutions.24

The goal of the report is “to raise global awareness and spur foreign

governments to take effective actions to counter all forms of trafficking in persons — a form of modern day slavery.”25 The TIP Report highlights the “three Ps” — prosecution, protection, and prevention as well as the “three Rs” — rescue, rehabilitation, and reintegration as the keys to curbing trafficking on a global level.26 The US enforces antitrafficking laws by extraditing and prosecuting smugglers. Canada also has a strong media awareness program to fight trafficking, through which the Canadian Department of Justice warns women of the dangers presented by traffickers who pretend to offer unique job experiences in Europe, but in reality sell them into prostitution.27


Tomich, Dale. Through the Prism of Slavery: Labor, Capital and World Economy. NY: Rowman & Littlefield, Inc. 2004. 24 “Trafficking in Persons Report,” Op. Cit. 25 Ibid. 26 Ibid. 27 Cotler, Irwin. “Forum on Human Trafficking.” Canadian Ministry of Justice. 30 March 2004. <>

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Latin America and the Caribbean Like Africa, the Latin American and the Caribbean region vulnerable to human trafficking. The Organization of American States (OAS) found that approximately 1,700 women were trafficked and sold into the Japanese sex trade in 2005.28 The Assistant Secretary General of the OAS stressed, “The importance for more effective legislation, prevention tools, assistance models, public policies and cooperation mechanisms among national and international partners striving to end human trafficking.”29 Mexico is a major destination for human traffickers who bring women, children, and migrant workers north from Central America with the goal of entering the US. Border security and government accountability are vital to prevent human trafficking in this region.30 States in Latin America and the Caribbean favor educational programs for women and children as well as financial assistance to help prevent international trafficking of persons. These nations are also very protective of national sovereignty, however, especially after a series of recent elections that brought many pro-Chavez candidates to power.

Europe The European Union has utilized international crime-fighting agencies such as Europol to prosecute human traffickers. While Western Europe has taken a strong stance against trafficking, the sex trade is rampant in Eastern Europe, where many women are forced into brothels. European Union legislation specifies an “objective [of] preventing and combating crime, organized or otherwise, in particular terrorism, trafficking in persons and offences against children.”31 In 2001, the EU drafted a report entitled Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, which calls for common minimum punishments for traffickers. The EU also allows short-term residence permits for victims of trafficking who agree to testify about their experiences. EU nations must provide 28

“OAS Assistant Secretary General Closes Human Trafficking Meeting in Venezuela.” Organization of American States. 17 March 2006. 29 Ibid. 30 Tomich, Op. Cit. 31 “EU Legislation Being Adopted Against Trafficking in Human Beings.” European Commission on Justice and Home Affairs. October 2005.

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medical and financial assistance and safe passage to the country of origin for victims. It is important for EU nations to share information on traffickers and punish those responsible for trafficking. Based on their domestic policies, European states favor international punishment guidelines and enforcement policies for traffickers. The EU also supports intelligence sharing with respect to information on trafficking routes and known traffickers.

Asia Debt bondage and child labor are serious problems across Asia. In India, adults who take out loans are often forced to sell their children to work in sweatshops in order to pay off the high interest of these debts. In China and Southern Asia, poverty has forced children to work in factories and sweatshops as well.32 Human trafficking within the region is widespread as factories and companies relocate, and Asia has a significant sex industry that fuels human trafficking into prostitution.

Unfortunately, many Asian

nations have turned a blind eye to these problems, not wanting to interfere with industrialization or modernization. It would be difficult to compete with developed stated and keep prices low if these nations followed international child labor laws, and many Asian states such as China are very focused on developing their economies. In 2004, the Association of Southeast Asian States (ASEAN) signed a declaration against human trafficking, calling for more secure travel documents, the sharing of information on trafficking routes, and more effective border security.33

These states are very

conscience of national sovereignty, and do not want the UN to interfere with their domestic policies in its effort to combat trafficking.

These countries are generally

unwilling to admit the severity of the trafficking problems in their own nations, but are likely to support the implementation of aid to help the situation in Africa.


Van den Anker, Christien, ed. The Political Economy of New Slavery. NY: Palgrave Macmillian, 2004. â&#x20AC;&#x153;ASEAN Signs Declaration Against Trafficking in Persons.â&#x20AC;? 29 November 2004. 33

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Africa The African Union has taken a united stance against contemporary forms of slavery and human trafficking, however, widespread government corruption and weak border security has made preventative measures difficult. As civil strife continues in many parts of the continent, children are kidnapped by guerilla groups or lured into armies, where they are forced to fight. Some positive steps have been taken to address human trafficking, such as the Nigerian National Trafficking in Persons Law Enforcement Administration Act, which shows Nigeriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s commitment to investigate the problem. However, education and poverty reduction are vital to end child labor in this region. States from the African bloc must appeal to the international community for financial assistance for education programs, but are unlikely to allow UN inspectors into their countries to observe the activities in their mines and factories.

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Summary Human trafficking is one of the worst perversions of individual human rights that exists in the modern world. Children are kidnapped and forced to fight in wars or work in mines; women are sold into prostitution; migrant workers are forced into hard labor to pay off immense debts. Conventions, meetings, and declarations are not enough to solve the problem, which has grown into a lucrative transnational business. Border security, intelligence sharing, and harsh punishments are necessary effectively curb traffickers. Of course, the root causes of trafficking must also be addressed. Children need access to a basic education so that they have an alternative to the false promises of human traffickers. Poverty is the ultimate root cause of trafficking, as it creates the conditions of desperation that lure victims into the hands of traffickers. The media needs to spread information to women and children on the danger of those who promise them jobs and educational opportunities overseas. UN participation in microfinance initiatives and other programs geared toward economic development in the region are also important to help prevent business owners from seeking money from usurers, which put them in such extreme debt that they are sometimes forced to sell their own children into the trafficking industry.34 NGOs and governments have worked together to spread information on the methods and transnational routes of human traffickers. However, government corruption and a lack of accountability of individual states, owing to the transnational nature of trafficking, makes the trafficking of persons all too easy for governments in Africa to ignore. The United Nations must take a hard-line approach to end these atrocities and punish international organized crime rings.


Van de Anker, Op. Cit.

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Discussion Questions • How big of a role do the victims of human trafficking play in your economy? Could your economy survive without these low-wage or slave workers? • What actions has your state taken to combat human trafficking? How successful have they been? Have they worked with neighboring states, or instead relied on a unilateral approach? • Has your state been involved in the fight to stem trafficking in and from Africa? • How should international organized crime rings be punished? What steps should the international community take, as opposed to just individual nations? • How should the UN use accounts of people who survived being trafficked? What publicity should these accounts be given? Are these stories representative of the true situation, or do they just offer anecdotal evidence? • Why is it difficult to educate people in impoverished areas on the dangers of human traffickers? What hinders their access to information? • How can the UN ensure government accountability and cooperation in fighting human trafficking without violating national sovereignty? Would your state be willing to allow the United Nations to operate an anti-trafficking program within your borders?

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Works Cited “ASEAN Signs Declaration Against Trafficking in Persons.” 29 November 2004. “Approaches to Combat Trafficking.” US Department of Education. <> Cotler, Irwin. “Forum on Human Trafficking.” Canadian Ministry of Justice. 30 March 2004. <> “EU Legislation Being Adopted Against Trafficking in Human Beings.” European Commission on Justice and Home Affairs. October 2005. man_trafficking_en.htm Fofana, Lansana. “Children Working in Sierra Leone Mines.” BBC News. 28 August 2003. “Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery.” US Department of International Labor Affairs. Miers, Suzanne. Slavery in the Twentieth Century. NY: Altamira Press, 2003. “OAS Assistant Secretary General Closes Human Trafficking Meeting in Venezuela.” Organization of American States. 17 March 2006. “Scale of African Slavery Revealed.” BBC. 23 April 2004. <> “Slavery Convention of 1926.” UN Office of the High Commissioner for HumanRights. 9 March 1927. <> “Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery.” Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. 30 April 1956. < “The Berlin Conference.” CUNY University. <>

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Tomich, Dale. Through the Prism of Slavery: Labor, Capital and World Economy. NY: Rowman & Littlefield, Inc. 2004. “Trafficking in Children: West and Central Africa.” United States International Information Programs. December 2002. “Trafficking in Human Beings.” UN Office on Drugs and Crime. “Trafficking in Persons Report.” United States Department of State. 3 June 2005. <> “Tutu Calls for Child Registration.” BBC News. 22 February 2005. <> Van den Anker, Christien, ed. The Political Economy of New Slavery. NY: Palgrave Macmillian, 2004.


Human Trafficking Director: Ben DeMarzo The Institute for Domestic and International Affairs, Inc. © 2006 Institute for Domestic &amp; Inter...