Trafficking in Women: Domestic and National Law
last updated September 1, 2005

As discussed in the sections on the International Legal Framework and Regional Law and Standards, the United Nations, Council of Europe and European Union have all created legally binding documents that obligate States to adopt laws at the national level with the aim of prosecuting traffickers and protecting trafficked persons from further harm.  These international bodies have placed greater emphasis on the obligation of national governments to undertake law enforcement measures than provide victim services.  Therefore, the first legislative reform efforts have resulted in a number of countries in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union(CEE/FSU) enacting legislation that criminalizes trafficking in persons.  More recently, efforts have been made to harmonize European immigration policy, specifically asylum law, with a view to providing trafficked persons with greater measures of protection in the destination country.  The United States has also introduced legislation, discussed in the section on victim protection and immigration law, which introduces specific visas for trafficked persons. 

Currently, regional organizations, such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Stability Pact Task Force on Trafficking in Human Beings, are conducting cooperative projects, between international organizations, national government ministries and local NGOs, to provide assistance and services to victims.  Although signatories to the United Nations Trafficking Protocol are obliged to undertake measures to provide victims with assistance and protection, there are few laws at the national level regulating how such aid will be provided and to whom.