The Protocol was adopted by the United Nations in November 2000 as part of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.  
It is the first global international instrument to contain an agreed definition of smuggling of migrants. It addresses the growing problem of organized criminal groups who smuggle migrants primarily for money. The Protocol aims at reducing the smuggling of migrants, protecting the rights of smuggled migrants, and preventing the abuse associated with this crime. Countries that ratify this treaty must ensure that migrant smuggling is criminalized in accordance with the Protocol’s legal requirements. 
They must treat the smuggled migrants humanely and not view them as criminals.