U.N. Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children

last updated June 2014

On April 19, 2004, the UN Commission on Human Rights appointed a Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children for a three-year term.[1] The UN Human Rights Council (“HRC”) extended the Special Rapporteur’s mandate by another three years in 2008, and again on July 11, 2011, along with a request that the Rapporteur “examine the impact of anti-trafficking measures on the human rights of victims of trafficking.”[2]  The HRC will likely extend the Rapporteur’s mandate once more at its 26th Session, June 10-27, 2014.[3]

The Special Rapporteur is tasked with submitting reports and recommendations that further the human rights of trafficked women and protect women and girls against trafficking.[4] The Special Rapporteur travels on country visits to compile information for reports and recommendations addressing regional issues and the conduct of individual state parties.[5] The Special Rapporteur may also investigate specific instances of trafficking and ongoing human rights violations, as well as issue urgent humanitarian appeals to the government concerned or issue requests for information regarding past violations.[6]

As of April 2014, the Special Rapporteur is Ms. Joy Ngozi Ezelio of Nigeria. She succeeded Ms. Sigma Huda as Special Rapporteur in 2008, and is the second person to serve in this position.[7] Ms. Ezelio promotes the integration of a human rights based approach in all measures to suppress and punish trafficking in women, in accordance with her most recent mandate from the HRC.[8] She states:

“Through the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Member States pledged to promote universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms. In combating trafficking in persons, this is a fundamental starting point that warrants more attention than it currently receives, as violations of human rights are both a cause and a consequence of trafficking in persons. Thus, universal respect for human rights must be ensured not only as a goal in itself, but also as a means of preventing trafficking in persons while placing the human rights of trafficked persons at the centre of all prevention efforts[9]
 

While serving as the Special Rapporteur, Ms. Ezelio has issued reports on effective remedies for trafficked persons[10] and on the identification and protection of, and assistance to, victims of trafficking.[11] She has also brought special attention to human trafficking in supply chains.[12] All of the Special Rapporteur’s reports can be accessed here: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Trafficking/Pages/annual.aspx.


[1] UN Economic and Social Council, Commission on Human Rights, Sixtieth Session, Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially in women and children, E/CN.4/2004/L.62, April 19, 2004.

[2] UN Human Rights Council, Twenty-sixth Session, Report of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, Thematic Report, A/HRC/RES/20/1, pars. 16-18, April 1, 2014, available for download at http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Trafficking/Pages/annual.aspx.

[3]  UN Human Rights Council, Nomination, Selection and Appointment of Mandate Holders, Appointments to be made at HRC26, Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, June 10-27, 2014.

[4] Special Rapporteur, Thematic Report, supra n. 2, par. 16.

[5] Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, “Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Country Visits," http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Trafficking/Pages/Visits.aspx (accessed June 20, 2014).

[6] Ibid, “Individual Complaints,” http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Trafficking/Pages/complaints.aspx (accessed June 20, 204).

[8] See, eg, UN Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, Integration of a human rights-based approach in measures to discourage the demand that fosters all forms of exploitation of persons, especially women and children, and which leads to human trafficking, A/HRC/23/48, March 18, 2013.

[9] UN General Assembly, Sixty-fifth Session, Trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Report of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, A/65/288, August 9, 2010. (Prevention of trafficking in persons).

[10] UN General Assembly, Trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Report of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, A/66/283, August 9, 2011 (The right to an effective remedy for trafficked persons).

[11] UN General Assembly, Sixty-fifth Session, Trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Report of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, A/65/288, August 9, 2010. (Prevention of trafficking in persons).

[12] UN General Assembly, Sixty-seventh Session, Trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Report of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, A/67/261, August 7, 2012 (The issue of human trafficking in supply chains).