Stop the Traffic! Greater Cooperation Needed to Combat Human Trafficking
Thursday, June 12, 2008 9:16 AM

Despite the efforts of governments and NGOs around the world, trafficking has been increasing, which is the conclusion from several recent UN conferences.  The Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kyung-wha Kang recently stated, “'We have not succeeded in eliminating this trade in people for profit.  We have not even managed to stem the tide. More people are being trafficked than ever before.'”

Several factors have combined to lead to this increase. The criminal organizations involved in human trafficking have become more complex, but also more adept as a result of globalization. Further, situations that increase the supply of people willing to risk trafficking have also increased. The combination of poverty, lack of education, and regional instability continue to increase the pool of people available for traffickers to prey upon.

What is needed is for greater international partnership and cooperation in combating human trafficking. Several recent UN conferences and debates have helped to forge the way in this regard. In February of 2008, 116 countries along with NGOs and members of the private sector came together in Vienna to discuss efforts to fight human trafficking. More recently, a human trafficking debate was held in New York with the whole General Assembly on June 3, 2008.

The conclusion coming out of these meetings is the need for a dual focus. On one hand, it is important to increase law enforcement and to prosecute the perpetrators of human trafficking if it is to be stopped. On the other hand, the international community must remember that it is also a human rights issue and that the victims’ human rights and dignity must be respected and upheld as well.

Compiled from: "Stop the Traffic!," Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, 11 June 2008.