Human trafficking and smuggling of migrants

Human trafficking is one of the most serious human rights violations of our modern world that brings high profits to traffickers through the acquisition and exploitation of human beings by improper means such as force, fraud or deception. Smuggling of migrants involves the facilitation of illegal entry of a person into a state of which that person is not a national or resident, for financial or other material benefit.

Human trafficking and smuggling of migrants represent great challenges for West and Central Africa. They are an obstacle to development, to the rule of law and a serious threat to human security as both crimes affect directly the lives of human beings.

There are several different sub-regional patterns of trafficking and smuggling and the crimes are continuously changing as the traffickers and smugglers exploit the factors that make countries and persons vulnerable to the crimes. Forms of trafficking include among others sexual exploitation, forced labour at mines, in agriculture and in domestic work, forced begging and organ trafficking.

UNODC enhances the capacities of Governments and civil society in order to effectively identify and combat human trafficking and smuggling of migrants by targeting the criminals and by protecting and assisting victims of trafficking and smuggled migrants. The cooperation with Governments and civil society aims to:

  • Strengthen the legislative and policy frameworks
  • Enhance capacities in identification, investigation and prosecution and protection of the victims/smuggled migrants
  • Increase data on the nature and scale of human trafficking and smuggling of migrants
  • Increase awareness on the crimes
  • Enhance cooperation on national, regional and international levels

Addtional Information

Definitions and tools on human trafficking and migrant smuggling

UNODC Regional Strategy for Combating Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants 2015-2020