'The Role of Corruption in Trafficking in Persons'

Side event to the third Session of the Conference of State Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption

9 - 13 November 2009, Doha

At the recent Conference of the State Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, UNODC and Transparency International jointly organised a side event session on The Role of Corruption in Trafficking in Persons, which took place on 11 November 2009.

Panel presentations

The panel comprised four key experts in the field of anti-trafficking and corruption. Chair of the panel, Ms. Julie Kvammen from UNODC, set the overall framework for the topic to be discussed and presented the background paper ' The Role of Corruption in Trafficking in Persons'. Ms Kvammen explained that both trafficking in persons and corruption are closely linked criminal activities and that effective anti-trafficking measures need respond to the interconnectedness of the phenomena.

Ms Klara Skrivankova, Trafficking programme coordinator from Anti-Slavery International, focused on recurring patterns and key issues in trafficking in persons. Ms Skrivankova provided a presentation on the various instances and elements of corruption, corrupt behaviors and corrupt system that pertain to the trafficking process and it various phases in the country of origin, transit and destination. She also emphasized the human costs of human trafficking and how corruption is directly experienced or felt by victims of trafficking.

Nigerian anti-corruption expert, Ms Lilian Ekeanyanwu, Head of the Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-Corruption Reforms, emphasised the use of existing monitoring mechanisms to reduce the prevalence of corruption and trafficking in persons crimes. Ms Ekeanyanwu highlighted the interfaces and synergies between provisions of the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the United Nations Transnational Organized Crime Convention, and explored the possibility of engendering the monitoring mechanism within the UNCAC. She also introduced the term 'body currency corruption' pointing to the gender aspects of trafficking in persons.

Georgian anti-corruption expert, Ms. Londa Esadze, focused on the correlation of corruption and trafficking in women, to provide a legal perspective on the issue. Ms Esadze offered insight into the legislative framework for responding to trafficking in persons and corruption, describing the definition of trafficking and the definition of corruption in line with the Trafficking in Persons Protocol supplementing the United Nations Transnational Organised Crime Convention and the United Nations Convention against Corruption. She also gave an overview of legislative harmonization processes and explored the correlation between corruption, trafficking in persons and gender.

Background Paper: The Role of Corruption in Trafficking in Persons

The technical background paper ' The Role of Corruption in Trafficking in Persons' presented at the side event was jointly prepared by Anti-Slavery International, Transparency International and UNODC. The paper addresses several issues pertaining to the inter-linkages of corruption and trafficking in persons, including the corrupt actors involved in both the trafficking process and the criminal justice process. It further provides an overview of the legal frameworks to combat both crimes and the inter-linkages between key international instruments.

The paper also sets forth key recommendations including;

  • the adoption of codes of conduct for areas prone to corruption, (e.g. on brothel raids);
  • a list of indicators for anti-corruption practitioners on trafficking in persons and vice versa for anti-trafficking practitioners on corruption;
  • inter-agency training;
  • general awareness raising among vulnerable public officials, and
  • rejection of 'turning a blind eye' to trafficking situations.

Download the paper here.

To read about the corruption monitoring mechanism agreed to at Doha, click here.

To read more UNODC anti-trafficking news click here.

To download UNODC anti-trafficking tools and publications click here.

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