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Latest Publications - Migrant Smuggling
The Human Trafficking Knowledge Portal is an initiative to facilitate the dissemination of information regarding the implementation of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and specifically the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.
The Human Trafficking Knowledge Portal hosts a Case Law Database on officially documented court cases concerning trafficking in persons and a Database on Legislation.
Visit the Human Trafficking Knowledge Portal here.
Watch video on the Case Law Database here.
For more information, please consult our information leaflets:
The Smuggling of Migrants Knowledge Portal is an initiative to facilitate the dissemination of information regarding the implementation of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and specifically the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air.
The Smuggling of Migrants Knowledge Portal hosts a Case Law Database on officially documented court cases concerning smuggling of migrants and a Database on Legislation.
Visit the Smuggling of Migrants Knowledge Portal here.
Download the Catalogue of Materials as PDF
Download the 2018 HTMSS Annual Report as PDF
Download the 2017 HTMSS Annual Report as PDF
The Case Digest aims to assist criminal justice practitioners worldwide in addressing recurring evidential issues that are typical to trafficking in persons cases. It can help practitioners build a trafficking case; it can give them an arsenal of tools to deal with common evidential weaknesses; it can reveal considerations and tools, helpful in tackling particularly difficult evidential problems; it can analyze cases in depth, thus showing how the interplay of different evidential patterns leads to a conviction or an exoneration. The Case Digest has analyzed 135 cases from 31 jurisdictions and provides the reader, based on these real cases tried, with a range of options and possibilities to deal with particular evidential challenges. Most cases are drawn from UNODC's Human Trafficking Case Law Database, set up within UNODC's SHERLOC knowledge management portal.
The toolkit aims to provide basic tools for journalists to report on human trafficking with integrity and comprehensiveness. Each section of the publication is designed to inspire dialogue and reflections, and to support the generation of new knowledge. This toolkit focuses on human trafficking in the Arab region, a region where the lack of sufficient official data, as well as the complex nature of migration flows and labour markets make it an issue that is especially challenging for journalists.
The toolkit aims to provide both a general overview of trafficking in persons for the purpose of organ removal and specific tools to assist concerned actors with assessing the phenomenon. The paper seeks to inform about the relevant legislative framework and international guidance, actors and modi operandi as well as good practice responses. It also contains questionnaire templates that aim to support the identification and support of victims of the crime, as well as the assessment of existing systems and possible loopholes and risks of abuse and exploitation and of commercial transactions with organs.
The Assessment Guide provides an inventory of measures for assessing the legislative, investigative, prosecutorial, judicial, and administrative responses to the smuggling of migrants by land, air, and sea, for deterring and combating such crime, and for integrating the information and experience gained from such assessment into successful national, regional, and international strategies.
The International Framework for Action to Implement the Smuggling of Migrants Protocol is a technical assistance tool that aims to support the effective implementation of the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. The purpose of the Framework for Action is to assist Member States and non-state actors in identifying and addressing gaps in their response to migrant smuggling by recommending practical measures in accordance with international standards. It was elaborated on with the consultation of various UN agencies, international organizations and NGOs.
Read more here.
The UNODC Human Trafficking First Aid Kit for Law Enforcement First Responders has been designed to support front-line officers who may come across cases of human trafficking in their daily work. It consists of a reader friendly booklet, contact sheets to note important local contact points for the referral of cases and victims, leaflets with Dos and Don'ts and posters.
The materials shall help first responders to adequately deal with trafficking in persons cases. The need for easy-to-use information available to all law enforcement officers has been identified by many practitioners in different regions of the world.
The First Aid Kit has been released both electronically and as a carrying case.
Read more and download the full package of the First Aid Kit here.
VITA is a unique new tool using audio messages, that allows law enforcement officials to provide a level of basic assistance to victims of human trafficking. Human trafficking survivors contributed to the development of these messages, which were also supported by experts in human trafficking focused on victims' needs.
This audio tool, consisting of key encounter messages, was developed to facilitate the identification of a trafficked person and the launch of a criminal investigation. Thirty-five basic questions and messages have been recorded and translated into 40 languages, taking into account special questions for children.
Read more about the Vita Tool and download it here.
The Toolkit to Combat Smuggling of Migrants provides guidance, showcases promising practices, and recommends resources to assist policy makers, law enforcers, judges, prosecutors, and members of civil society in their efforts to prevent migrant smuggling, protect smuggled migrants and their rights, and cooperate to these ends. The Toolkit is comprised of tools on understanding migrant smuggling, actors and processes, international legal framework, problem assessment and strategy development, legislative framework, international criminal justice cooperation, law enforcement and prosecution, protection and assistance measures, prevention and capacity building and training.
The Toolkit is divided in thematic areas addressed by the following Tools:
Read more about the Toolkit here.
UNODC, in the framework of the Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT) has developed the Needs Assessment Toolkit on the Criminal Justice Response to Human Trafficking.
The main objective of the toolkit is to guide the assessors in gathering and analyzing information pertaining to a country's criminal justice response to human trafficking. More specifically, it aims to assist governments, the civil society, the international community and other relevant actors to conduct a comprehensive or specific assessment of selected aspects of a country's criminal justice response to trafficking in persons. The toolkit contains a number of components that are crucial for curtailing the crime of trafficking in persons and provides sufficient flexibility to be used for assessments both in places where a solid infrastructure for combating trafficking in persons exists and in places with few or no such measures.
Read more about the Needs Assessment Toolkit here.
The International Framework for Action is a technical assistance tool that supports United Nations Member States in the effective implementation of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. The Framework is the result of broad participation between anti-trafficking partners including Anti-Slavery International, Council of Europe, ECPAT, IOM, ILO, LEFOE-IBF, OAS, OSCE, Terre des hommes, Johns Hopkins University, UNDAW/DESA, UNICEF, UNIFEM, UNHCR, UNICRI, OHCHR and UNODC.
The Model Law against Trafficking in Persons has been developed in the framework of the Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT) to assist States in implementing the provisions contained in the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing that Convention. It aims to facilitate the amendment of existing legislation as well as the adoption of new legislation. The Model Law covers not only the criminalization of trafficking in persons and related offences, but also the different aspects of assistance to victims as well as establishing cooperation between different state authorities and NGOs. Each provision is accompanied by a detailed commentary, legal sources and examples, providing several options for legislators, as appropriate.
The Model Law against the Smuggling of Migrants has been developed to assist States in implementing the provisions contained in the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. It aims to facilitate the review and amendment of existing legislation as well as the adoption of new legislation. Each provision is accompanied by a detailed commentary, legal sources and examples, providing several options for legislators, as appropriate.
Read More about the Model Law here.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UNODC, in the framework of the Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT), launched the publication Combating trafficking in persons: A Handbook for Parliamentarians.
As public awareness of human trafficking grows, people are demanding that action be taken to end it. As elected representatives, parliamentarians have a responsibility and the power to ensure that laws and other measures are put in place and implemented to that end. The Handbook is intended to inspire them to enact sound laws and adopt good practices that will strengthen national responses to human trafficking.
"The fact that trafficking in persons occurs today is a horrifying reality. The fact that there is more we could be doing collectively to combat it should be a global call to arms." (UNODC Toolkit to Combat Trafficking in Persons).
The 123 tools contained in the Toolkit offer guidance, recommended resources, and promising practices to policymakers, law enforcers, judges, prosecutors, victim service providers and members of civil society who are working in interrelated spheres towards preventing trafficking, protecting and assisting victims and promoting international cooperation.
To download individual Tools, visit our Online Toolkit.
UNODC's Toolkit to Combat Trafficking in Persons provides practical help to Governments, policy-makers, police, NGOs and others to enable them to tackle human trafficking more effectively. The Toolkit details a range of practices and methods currently in use throughout the world such as checklists to help identify trafficking victims as well as guidance on interviewing victims and victim protection. Other tools help police to undertake cross-border investigations and advise government officials on how to ensure the safe repatriation of victims. These and many other current "best practices" are available for immediate use and adaptation worldwide.
UNODC together with NIMHANS developed this manual to be used as resource material for capacity building of staff working in shelter homes for women in India. The recently published manual highlights the specific needs of women in institutions, enables the care givers to understand these needs and gives them an insight into the spectrum of psychosocial interventions. It gives the care givers an understanding of the various laws and policies that are available to safeguard the rights of women in India. It also focuses on the importance of care and stress management of the caregivers themselves. Read the full story of the project here.
Tools developed by UNODC within the global programmes on trafficking person and smuggling of migrants are developed in such a way that they are practical and can be used to support the activities against these crimes. They can also serve as basis for adaptation to specific regional requirements an example of such an adaptation are two manuals developed by the UNODC regional office for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.
The handbook aims to help improve cooperation between criminal justice officials who are involved in cross-border trafficking investigations. It was prepared by technical experts involved in the Asia Regional Trafficking in Persons Project (ARTIP), through the Australian Government Overseas Aid Program (AusAID), and funded by the Australian Government and the European Union, through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
This publication is disseminated by the General Prosecutor's Office of the Republic of Moldova. For more information, contact:
Mr. Eduard Bulat
Head of Department to Prevent and Combat Trafficking in Persons
General Prosecutor's Office, Republic of Moldova
The UNODC In-Depth Training Manual on Investigating and Prosecuting the Smuggling of Migrants is the product of criminal justice expertise gathered from around the world.
The diversity of those involved in the process of elaborating the manual reflects its target audience of criminal justice practitioners including investigators, examining judges, investigating judges, prosecutors, magistrates, law enforcement officers, border agents, and all other professionals who are involved in the criminal justice system.
Read more here.
Read more here.
In line with the Trafficking in Persons Protocol supplementing the United Nations Transnational Organised Crime Convention, the purpose of the United Nations Anti-Human Trafficking Manual for Criminal Justice Practitioners is to further facilitate the prevention of human trafficking, protection of its victims, prosecution of its culprits and develop international cooperation to achieve these targets.
The manual addresses each phase of the criminal justice response to trafficking in persons, from identification of victims through investigations and prosecutions of trafficking, to the protection of victims. The manual consists of 14 modules that stand alone to meet the specific needs of criminal justice practitioners, and serve as a practical guide towards a more effective criminal justice response to trafficking in persons.
Read more about the Manual and its creation in the Introduction
The wide-circulation modules in the Manual address:
The restricted-circulation modules in the Manual which are not publicly available, address:
To request for restricted content please visit the request page .
Conceptualized as a 'practical guide for law enforcement and prosecution on migrant smuggling', the overall goal of the Basic Training Manual on Investigating and Prosecuting the Smuggling of Migrants is to build the capacity of criminal justice practitioners to dismantle the criminal networks involved in migrant smuggling, secure the conviction of the criminals involved, raise awareness among criminal justice practitioners on the criminal nature of migrant smuggling, and improve cooperation between origin, transit, and destination countries. The Training Modules are designed to be used in the context of delivering technical assistance through training law enforcers and prosecutors on effective investigation and prosecution of migrant smuggling cases. The Modules are written in such a way that they can be readily adapted to the needs of different regions and countries, and can serve as the basis for upgrading or supplementing training programs of national training institutes.
Read more about the Manual and its development here.
The Modules in the Manual:
To request for restricted content please visit the request page .
The Meeting of ECOWAS Heads of States, in December 2001, adopted a Declaration and the ECOWAS Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons (2002-2003). It directed the ECOWAS Executive Secretarian to prepare proposals for controlling trafficking in persons in the sub-region, with special consideration to the situation of children.
Training Manual: Assistance for the Implementation of the ECOWAS Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons presents the definitions of trafficking in human beings and smuggling of migrants as well as general guidelines on investigation and prosecution of cases related to trafficking in human beings, with a focus on cooperation between ECOWAS Member States. This Manual is to be used as a reference material and in training activities.
A 2007 publication of UNODC Regional Office for South Asia, compiled by the Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, India, with the help of police agencies of various states.
A 2008 publication of UNODC Regional Office for South Asia, highlights successful initiatives of NGOs and their partners from other sectors with respect to the prevention of human trafficking, the protection of its victims and the prosecution of its culprits.
A course and curriculum on combating human trafficking was developed as a joint initiative of UNODC, the Moldovan National Institute of Justice (NIJ), and the OSCE Mission to Moldova. The course, designed for judges and prosecutors, comprises two sections.
The first section concerns substantive law and the second concerns procedural law. The former section addresses issues related to the definition of human trafficking in criminal law and the differences between human trafficking and related crimes. This section also address root causes of human trafficking, victim identification and methods to combat and prevent human trafficking.
The second section on procedural law addresses the competencies of agencies involved in preventing and combating human trafficking, specific features of the investigation process in cases of human trafficking, collaboration between different agencies involved in investigating and prosecuting human trafficking cases, and international cooperation.
On 21 December 2016, UNODC launched its new Global Report on Trafficking in Persons.
The 2016 UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons is the third of its kind mandated by the General Assembly through the 2010 United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons. It covers 136 countries and provides an overview of patterns and flows of trafficking in persons at global, regional and national levels, based primarily on trafficking cases detected between 2012 and 2014.
For more information about the report, including the executive summary and individual country profiles, click here .
On 24 November 2014, UNODC launched its new Global Report on Trafficking in Persons.
The Global Report 2014 provides an overview of patterns and flows of trafficking in persons at global, regional and national levels, based on trafficking cases detected between 2010 and 2012 (or more recent). The Country Profiles of the Global Report present a national level analysis for each of the 128 countries covered by this edition of the report.
For more information about the report, including the executive summary and individual country profiles, click here.
On 10 December 2012, UNODC launched the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons.
The Global Report 2012 provides an overview of patterns and flows of trafficking in persons at global, regional and national levels, based on trafficking cases detected between 2007 and 2010 (or more recent). The report also includes a chapter on the worldwide response to trafficking in persons. The Country Profiles of the Global Report present a national level analysis for each of the 132 countries covered by this edition of the report.
The Executive Summary of the Global Report is available in:
The following individual country profiles can be downloaded:
Or download the full version of the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons.
For more information about the report, click here
Migrant Smuggling in Asia - Current Trends and Related Challenges (2015)
This report outlines patterns of migrant smuggling in Asia and presents evidence-based knowledge to guide policy and strengthen international cooperation. Developed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, it is part of a series of knowledge products considering acute and far-reaching issues confronting governments and communities in South-East Asia, as part of an ongoing analytical and capacity-strengthening process. Read more here.
Migrant Smuggling in Asia - An Annotated Bibliography Vol. 2 (2014)
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) conducted the research for this annotated bibliography in support of the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime, which is a regional, multilateral forum to improve the coordination against criminal activity related to migrant smuggling and human trafficking. The research focused on a total of 45 Bali Process member countries (the project countries). Read more here.
Against a backdrop of limited information on migrant smuggling and irregular migration in Asia, UNODC launched two reports which, for the very first time, consolidate existing research literature on migrant smuggling in 14 countries across Asia.
The reports, Migrant Smuggling in Asia: A Thematic Review of Literature and the accompanying Annotated Bibliography, provide a systematic review of available empirical knowledge on smuggling of migrants. These resources identify gaps in what is known about the smuggling of migrants around, in and out of Asia into Europe, North America and Australia and the Pacific. Read more here.
This report investigates the involvement of organized criminal groups in the smuggling of migrants from West Africa to the European Union (EU). The publication contributes to improving the understanding of underlying mechanisms and actors involved in this criminal process as a basis for policy reforms in countries affected. Information in the report was compiled by a team of researchers from West Africa and Europe using both documentary studies, and field research conducted in Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Spain.
There is a need to examine country specific laws to understand where the gaps in responses lie, and also, how Member States in South Asia can be assisted to fill those gaps. In this regard, a legal and policy review of responses to human trafficking in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka was commissioned jointly by UNODC and UN WOMEN, under the UN Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT).
Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka have all taken steps in the right direction to combat human trafficking; however, there is a need to look closely at country specific laws to understand where the gaps lie. It is in the light of this, that a Legal and Policy Review of Responses to Human Trafficking has been taken up. The Report looks at the law and policy, especially in the context of the Protocol, supplementing work already available in different studies.
The publication "Smuggling of migrants into, through and from North Africa: A thematic review and annotated bibliography of recent publications" is the second in a series of unique publications produced by UNODC. Recognizing, however, that irregular migration and smuggling flows are transnational in nature, the review goes beyond North Africa, to also cover sub- Saharan African and European countries affected along the various smuggling routes. The aim of the review is twofold: to describe major findings on smuggling of migrants; into, through and from North Africa, and to highlight the need for further research on specific issues that have not yet been studied.
The thematic review identifies several key areas requisite to understand, address and criminalize migrant smuggling. The literature reviewed is divided into thematic chapters including: quantifying irregular migration and smuggling of migrants, migrant smuggling routes, profiles and characteristics of smuggled migrants, smuggler-migrant relationships, organizational structures of migrant-smuggling routes, modus operandi of migrant smugglers, smugglers fees and the human and social costs of smuggling. Finally, the publication is complemented by an annotated bibliography of the reviewed literature.
To download the Thematic Review, click here
For more information about the Thematic Review, click here
UNODC is currently developing and implementing a number of new projects to assess and counter the various threats posed by human smuggling. To do so effectively, and to learn from already existing research on migrant smuggling for current and future programme design, it is imperative to gain an overview of the current state of knowledge on the subject by consolidating the existing literature on the subject in one comprehensive and informative document. The Global Review and Annotated Bibliography of Recent Publications on Smuggling of Migrants responds to this need by surveying existing sources and research papers on migrant smuggling, to provide a summary of knowledge, and identify gaps based on the most recent and relevant research available on migrant smuggling from a worldwide perspective.
To download the Global Review, click here
To download the Executive Summary, click here
For more information about the Global Review, click here
On the 31st May 2010 UNODC and the Council of the Baltic Sea States Task Force on Trafficking in Human Beings (CBSS TF-THB) successfully completed the joint "Regional Project on Fostering Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) - Law Enforcement Cooperation in Preventing and Combating Human Trafficking in, from and to the Baltic Sea Region." The result of the research carried out is the publication of a comprehensive regional assessment report entitled Human Trafficking in the Baltic Sea Region: State and Civil Society Cooperation on Victims Assistance and Protection.
To download the Report, click here
For more information about Report, click here
Background paper for the Vienna Forum to Fight Human Trafficking, held in Vienna from 13 to 15 February 2008, exploring the Forum's three central themes of vulnerability, impact and action.
On 12 February 2009, UNODC launched the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons.
Based on data gathered from 155 countries, it offers the first global assessment of the scope of human trafficking and what is being done to fight it. It includes: an overview of trafficking patterns; legal steps taken in response; and country-specific information on reported cases of trafficking in persons, victims, and prosecutions.
The Executive Summary of the Global Report is available in:
To download the executive summary in all languages click here
The following individual regional profiles can be downloaded:
Or download the full version of the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons.
For more information about the report, click here
This manual provides comprehensive background information on the international and national legal framework governing the response to trafficking in persons. It draws on examples of good practices, including model laws, from around the world to present practical recommendations to parliamentarians in Afghanistan to serve as a guide in the process to more effectively combat trafficking in persons. Contributory material to this manual has been sourced and adapted from various material, including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Inter-Parliamentary Union and the UN.GIFT publication: "Combating Trafficking in Persons: A Handbook for Parliamentarians".
The aim of this study, developed by UNODC Regional Office for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, in collaboration with the United Nations Latin American Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (ILANUD, San José, Costa Rica) is to asses the political, legal, financial, institutional and technical conditions of those institutions in charge of investigating, prosecuting and judging trafficking in persons, as well as providing recommendations to overcome any obstacles in those areas.
The main findings of the assessment (lack of knowledge of investigative techniques and of mutual legal assistance procedures, confusion between trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, among others) have served as primary inputs for the specialized training manual that this regional project elaborated, and that is being validated through national workshops in each signatory country (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama).
The aim of this study, commissioned by UNODC Regional Office for South Asia in collaboration with the Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi is to assess the current extent and scope of irregular migration from Tamil Nadu with the objective of improving evidence-based knowledge on the profile of irregular migrants, the modus operandi of agents, the countries to which migration is destined, and the government response to curbing irregular migration.
This report concludes a study into the scope and magnitude of irregular migration from the northern states of Punjab and Haryana in India. The study was based on law enforcement authority records, discussion with officials, public representatives, extensive field visits in districts of Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Nawanshahr and Hoshiarpur of Punjab and interviews with a large number of respondents, including irregular migrants and their family members, co-villagers of irregular migrants, agents involved in migrant smuggilng and police officers who investigated cases against agents.
(Please note that country profiles are contained within the report appendices).
"The fact that slavery - in the form of human trafficking - still exists in the 21st century shames us all. Governments, international organizations and civil society are devoting considerable efforts to counter it, but there is still an information deficit about the extent of this tragedy. Only by understanding its depth, breadth and scope can we design policies to fight it. This understanding still eludes us: efforts to counter trafficking have so far been uncoordinated and inefficient. This Report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is our first attempt to close the knowledge gap." From the Foreword by Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa
The Model Guide on Strengthening National Criminal Justice Response to Human Trafficking developed by UNODC in partnership with International Secretariat of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, provides a practical, user friendly, regional reference on strengthening criminal justice response in the field of counter-trafficking that is based upon a commitment to implement the relevant UN Conventions and Protocols. The guide serves to encourage and guide further actions taken by the states, UNODC or other international agencies. The intention of the Model Guide is to contribute at enhancement of cooperation in the counter-trafficking activities of professionals in Black Sea Region and to develop their ability to work jointly with each other at the international level.
Issue paper: The Concept of "Financial or Other Material Benefit " in the Smuggling of Migrants Protocol (2017)
The principal purpose of the study is to contribute to more effective and consistent interpretation and implementation of the international legal obligations that States have assumed through their ratification of or accession to the Smuggling of Migrants Protocol and its parent instrument, the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. A foundational assumption of the study is that fostering common approaches with regard to criminal justice priorities will contribute to improvements in the national response as well as to more effective cooperation between States in investigation, prosecution and adjudication of migrant smuggling and related offences.
The purpose of this issue paper is to clarify the key concept of exploitation in the Trafficking in Persons Protocol. The Issue Paper was developed drawing on a series of interviews conducted with practitioners and experts from twelve States representing different regions and legal traditions (Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, Malaysia, Qatar, Sweden, Thailand, Uganda and the United Arab Emirates) as well as on expert input provided during an expert group meeting. The Issue Paper aims to assist criminal justice officers in penal proceedings. It was launched at the thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in April 2015 .
The purpose of this issue paper is to clarify the key concept of consent in the definition of trafficking in persons contained in Article 3 of the Trafficking in Persons Protocol. Drawing on interviews with practitioners from 12 States (Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Indonesia, Israel, the Philippines, Norway, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America) and finalized with input received during an expert group meeting, the issue paper aims to assist criminal justice officers in penal proceedings.
Corruption often undermines national and international efforts to prevent and control the crime of smuggling of migrants, just as it affects the response to other forms of transnational crime such as trafficking in persons, in firearms, and in narcotics. Organized criminal groups make frequent use of the presence of corruption, often together with intimidation and violence, to facilitate their migrant smuggling operations. Migrant smuggling can generate large revenues that smugglers in turn can use to bribe officials and buy their complicity. Criminal organizations take advantage of systems of immigration control, border protection and public security that are weakened by corruption.
This issue paper aims to assist policy makers and practitioners in preventing and addressing corruption related to migrant smuggling operations.
The purpose of this issue paper is to clarify the key concept of abuse of a position of vulnerability as a means of the crime of trafficking in persons in the definition contained in Article 3 of the Trafficking in Persons Protocol. Drawing on interviews with practitioners from 12 States (Canada, Belgium, Brazil, Egypt, India, Mexico, Netherlands (the), Nigeria, Republic of Moldova (the), Switzerland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the), and United States of America (the)), and finalized with input received during an expert group meeting, two products were developed, the issue paper and a corresponding Guidance Note that aims to assist criminal justice officers in penal proceedings.
The purpose of this Issue Paper is to capture expertise from a range of experiences of both countries of origin, countries of transit, and countries of destination for the purpose of increasing understanding of the issue and the challenge of addressing it. The overall goal of the issue paper is to provide a global perspective on the issue of migrant smuggling by sea, examining the framework in which it is addressed, the key challenges inherent therein, and to recommend concrete measures that can be taken to strengthen response in this respect.
This Issue Paper poses the questions whether there is transnational organized crime and other criminal activity in the fishing industry, and if so, what the vulnerabilities of the fishing industry are to transnational organized crime or other criminal activity. Importantly, the study did not set out to tarnish the fishing industry. Rather, the study sought to determine whether criminal activities take place within the fishing industry to the detriment of law-abiding fishers, the legitimate fishing industry, local fishing communities and the general public alike.
This paper seeks to outline patterns of corruption in trafficking in persons; provide a description of relevant international legal instruments, and outline some practical guidance on what can be done to address the issue of corruption in human trafficking. In an attempt to keep its scope within reasonable limits, the paper focuses mostly on corruption of public officials, and in particular, of law enforcement and criminal justice actors.
This Issue Paper offers a brief overview of the crime of migrant smuggling. It explains aspects of the crime as defined in the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air (Smuggling of Migrants Protocol) supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. The paper also explores how the crime of migrant smuggling is committed, the roles played by individual criminal actors in the process ,and explains the difference between migrant smuggling and the distinct but related crime of human trafficking.
This Issue Paper is the result of an expert group meeting held in Vienna in December 2009, which brought together expert practitioners from all over the world. This Issue Paper explores the particular modus operandi of smuggling migrants by air and touches upon the various challenges involved in addressing this issue. The paper also offers some recommendations about strengthening and coordinating response to this issue.
For Fact-Sheets of the Global Migration Group, click here.
UNODC, through the Institute for International Research on Criminal Policy (IRCP) of the Ghent University in Belgium, carried out a study on the links between organized crime, trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants. The objective of this exercise was to provide insight into what is known on the involvement of organized crime in trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants cases. Developing appropriate criminal justice responses to combat trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants as forms of organized crime requires a knowledge-based response.
Combating Trafficking in Persons in Accordance with the Principles of Islamic Law (2010)
This paper addresses principles on the prohibition of exploitation and slavery in both International and Islamic law, as well as principles providing protection for its victims. The paper is targeted both at Islamic practitioners who want to learn more about combating human trafficking and also at anti-trafficking practitioners wanting to learn more about Islamic law.
To read more about this paper, click here
ICAT Issue Brief 08/2020
ICAT: A Toolkit for Guidance in Designing and Evaluating Counter-Trafficking Programmes (2016)
This document builds on a discussion paper developed by the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons on the current state of evaluation practice in the field of trafficking in persons. It provides an accessible and easily employable set of tools that practitioners can use to put sectoral learning to work and improve their counter-trafficking programmes. These tools are intended to help strengthen programme design, inform planning for evaluation, and engender formative and summative learning. It is hoped that the wide use of such tools will lead to more effective programmes that, together with their evaluation, would contribute to further building the evidence base of "what works" to respond effectively to trafficking in persons.
ICAT: Pivoting Toward the Evidence: Building Effective Counter-trafficking Responses Using Accumulated Knowledge and a Shared Approach to Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (2016)
In an effort to reflect more systematically on the state of evaluation in the sector and to develop a way forward, this paper seeks to construct a common framework for aligning goals, defining and assessing progress, and building a robust and shared evidence-base of effective anti-trafficking programmes and practices. It suggests a road map for capturing and using knowledge accumulated in the sector and beyond, guiding and growing effective interventions, monitoring their progress, evaluating their results and compiling evidence of "what works" in countering human trafficking.
What is the difference between trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants?
This ICAT issue paper argues that access to remedies for trafficking victims should be a core component of efforts to address human trafficking, and provides illustrative examples of effective remedies and limitations that currently exist in different jurisdictions. Effective access to remedies is important not only for victims' recovery but also for reaffirming their rights and preventing re-victimisation. The paper also looks at the right to effective remedies for victims of human trafficking under international law, the scope of applying effective remedies, the challenges to providing remedies to victims at the national level, and offers practical recommendations to improve access to remedies (including specific recommendations for law and policy-makers, as well as non-State actors) and to facilitate related international cooperation.
ICAT: Preventing Trafficking in Persons by Addressing Demand (2014)
The Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons (ICAT) published its second policy paper entitled Preventing trafficking in persons by addressing demand . The paper provides guidance to organizations and practitioners by mapping out the dimensions of demand as it relates specifically to trafficking in persons for labour exploitation, as well as by highlighting strategies that can be used to address it.
The paper examines six main strategies to address demand in a trafficking in persons context, which are further detailed with concrete steps that can be taken by different actors to effectively reduce demand.
The thematic paper is a result of UNODC's chairmanship of the Global Migration Group, an inter-agency group bringing together UN and other international agencies on the issue of international migration. The preparation of the thematic paper was led by UNODC in consultation with experts from GMG member agencies. The objective of the thematic paper is to contribute to better conceptual and policy coherence in mounting a human rights response to the exploitation of migrants. The paper aims to fill the lack of harmonised understanding of the concept of exploitation, while promoting the principle that exploited migrants are entitled to protection and assistance, irrespective of their migration status, and in respect of their human rights.
The first ICAT issue paper, titled the International Legal Frameworks concerning Trafficking in Persons, is first of a series of five ICAT issue papers to be published over the course of 2012 and 2013. The paper characterizes key related elements of the anti-trafficking response today, highlights assumed features that still require development and recommends a number of prioritized actions to bring to bear provisions and legal obligations from different bodies of law and legal instruments that are relevant to the task of preventing human trafficking, protecting victims, and prosecuting perpetrators.
The ICAT Working Group decided to publish a series of five issue papers over course of 2012 and 2013. Each issue paper will examine one key issue that has been identified and agreed by ICAT member organisations as a critical challenge to address for the international community to succeed in the fight against trafficking in persons in the coming decade. This document, launched in May 2012 in New York at an event hosted by ICAT and co-sponsored by the Mission of Sweden together with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), provides an introduction to each of the five key challenges identified.
In October 2010, the international community, in the fifth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols (CTOC/COP) commemorated the 10 year anniversary of the adoption of the Convention and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children by the United Nations General Assembly. The purpose of this document is to, first, provide an overview of the mandates of the member organizations of ICAT. Second, the document provides, from key agencies, an analytical review of where the international community now stands 10 years on from the adoption of the Trafficking Protocol. Finally, the document provides a view to the future with the proposal by particular agencies of concrete recommendations for future action.
The purpose of this document is to present the response of the UNODC Regional Office for West and Central Africa (UNODC ROSEN) to the challenges facing the region in the areas of trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants. It is the result of extensive consultation initiated by the Regional Office to ensure, on the one hand, the consistency of the Strategy with the initiatives of the relevant regional and national institutions and, on the other hand, the coordination and integration of the document with the initiatives developed by the UNODC headquarters and other relevant offices.
The strategic approach offered in this document aims to initiate further discussions with relevant counterparts and donors to implement the priority actions they have been identified through regional and transregional processes in 2014-2015, and is fully in line with UNODC's mandates and on-going and planned activities. UNODC seeks to comprehensively address the smuggling of migrants through a strategic and integrated response encompassing five mutually reinforcing actions and making full use of UNODC's network of field operations in the Mediterranean region (with a focus on Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries, and South Eastern European countries), UNODC's partnerships with regional and international organizations, as well as the Office's extensive experience in countering the activities of transnational organized criminal networks, including through measures to address money laundering and corruption.
To watch and listen to UNODC's multimedia material (training films, public service announcements, interviews, conferences...) about human trafficking, visit our human trafficking video and audio page.