Evaluate 2012, UN Office of Drugs and Crime

Evaluate the effectiveness of legal and non-legal responses
in the protection of human rights

Many view the morally repugnant
institution of slavery as a thing of the past, but the disturb fact is that illegal
slavery and trade of human trafficking continues to be prevalent to this day.

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The global issue is referred to as ‘Trafficking in Persons’. Human trafficking is
a complex universal crime involving severe violations of Human Rights. It falls
under the title of contemporary slavery. Within this international issue, both non-legal
and legal domestic and international responses have been effective, reasons for
this judgement will be outlined thoroughly throughout this response.

Human trafficking is an international
offence which includes the recruitment and transferring of humans for
constrained labour or servitude through deception, utilisation of power,
extreme force, extortion and trafficking individuals for sexual bondage. The International
Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that about 12.3 million adults and children
are in forced, bonded labour or commercial sexual servitude at any given time. As
many as 27 million people may be currently enslaved around the world, this is more
people than at any other time in the worlds history. Human trafficking involves
a whole line of criminal activity, victims are often lead into the situations
by false job offers, offers of migration, marriage proposals, sold by their
family members, recruited by former slaves, deceived, intimidated or abducted.

The extent to which the issue of human trafficking has
reached is that of a universal level. In 2012, UN Office of Drugs and Crime
estimated that over 2 million victims of human trafficking across state
borders, this excludes the many, many of people trafficked within their own borders,
this often goes unnoticed. In 2009, it was stated by the United Nations Global
Report on Trafficking in Persons, that sexual exploitation is the most
documented type of trafficking. This was due to various factors. Human
trafficking is the most documented due to it being often reported. A majority
of human trafficking victims originate from developing countries, many may mistake
the reason for human trafficking being so prevalent in third world countries due
to the high levels of poverty but as previously stated, Human Trafficking is motivated
by fraudulent recruiters, exploitative employers and corrupt officials, with
the intent of receiving profits through the victim.

An legal international response includes
the worldwide abolition of slavery in the early 20th century through
the Slavery Convention of 1926. This treaty expanded by 1956 by the
Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade and
Practices Similar to Slavery. This convention acknowledged, clarified and
expanded the definition of slavery, also including debt bondage, forced
marriage and child slavery. In spite of the fact the slavery was acknowledged,
the convention failed to address issues of illicit
slavery and human trafficking, thus making this international response ineffective.



Vaster attention to Human trafficking and global
strain to manage the issue developed at end of the twentieth century, concluding
in 2000 with the UN General Assembly’s adoption of the Protocol to Prevent,
Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, particularly Women and Children as
women and children make up the most percentage of trafficking victims. It was
intended for state members to ratify into the most appropriate residential
laws. The protocol brought significant worldwide attention and awareness to the
issue. Starting at 2012, there are 147 state parties to the Protocol. The UN’s
2009 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons demonstrates that in the previous
couple of years, the number of states implementing the Protocol has expanded immensely.

In spite of the fact that this legal response is effective, there are still
nations that do not have the essential lawful instruments or political will,
there is still a great deal of improvement to be made that will require
significant assets, centre and participation. Implementation and enforcement of
international treaties, especially the 2000 Protocol, is left up to national
governments. While some states pursue offenders, others may be unable to
effectively tackle the problem. This is prevalent in the African country of
Libya. Libya has been the focus of international attention after the exposure
of the exploitation of migrants and refugees in the north African country. The government
was only able to effectively tackle the issue due to the assistance of other
states. This was presented in a Times article  


With this universal issue, there are
a number of domestic responses that determine the effectiveness of human

The Australian government established
a Human Trafficking strategy in 2003 that has since devoted almost $60 million
to confronting the issue. Australia’s anti-trafficking approach addresses the
entire trafficking process, from recruitment to reintegration, and lends equal
weight to critical areas of prevention, detection and investigation,
prosecution and victim support. Australia authorised the Supplementary Protocol
to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and
Children on 27 May 2004 as they make up the most percentage of trafficking

Australia primary introduced sexual slavery laws with the Criminal Code
(Slavery and Sexual Servitude) Amendment Act 1999 (Cth). It advanced these and implemented
additional specific Human Trafficking offences to the federal Criminal Code in
the Criminal Code Amendment (Trafficking in Persons Offences) Act 2005 (Cth). Current
provisions are found under Divisions 270 and 271 of Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
which includes penalties of up to 25 years’ imprisonment for some offences.

Similar offenses under state and territory legislation include Division 270 and Division 271. Division 270 discusses
slavery, sexual servitude and deceptive recruiting. This division includes
offences such as possession of a slave, engaging in slave trading and entering
into commercial transaction involving a slave. It contains prohibitions on the misleading
recruitment of an individual for sexual servitude. Division 271 discusses trafficking
in persons and debt bondage. This division clarifies that it is an offence to
traffic a person or children, internationally or domestically. Division 271 contains
offences relating to debt bondage or persons, forced labour and the trade in
human organs. This domestic response is effective as it demonstrates the legal
actions that Australia takes in combating Human Trafficking

Due to geographic remoteness and
strong migration controls, Australia is still a popular location for victims of
trafficking, exceptionally those from Asia, South-East Asia and Eastern Europe.

This was evident in the R v. Tang 2008 case. This case involved Australia’s first
jury conviction under the slavery provisions of Division 270 of the
Commonwealth Criminal Code where Wei Tang, a brothel owner, was suspected of buying
five women from Thailand to work in a licensed brothel in Melbourne beneath an illegal
environment of slavery and debt bondage. Wei Tang was sentenced in 2006 of five
counts of intentionally possessing a slave and five counts of intentionally
exercising a power of ownership over a slave, contrary to section 270 of the
Commonwealth Criminal Code. As a result of this case, Wei Tang was penalised
with a sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment. Nevertheless, the sentence was
overturned and ordered for retrial in 2007. This was due to the fact that the judge
had misinformed the jury on the core definition of ‘slavery’. This case is also
an example of the Australian governments numerous prosecutions under the
criminal provisions

Though legal responses have played vital role to the, there are
also a number of non-legal domestic and international responses that acknowledge
and work to combat the complex universal crime.

The UN, ILO and various NGOs are all involved
in contesting contemporary slavery and Human Trafficking. The UN established a
Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN. GIFT). UN. GIFT solely works to
increase awareness about the topic of Human Trafficking, support non-government
organisations in their anti-trafficking campaigns by promoting cooperation and
join actions between other non-government organisations and efficient prosecution
of criminals, reduce the demand for the exploitation of people and the
vulnerability of potential victims, and guarantee support and assistance for
victims who have escaped the horrific captivity. ILO also plays an essential
role in implementing and reporting on worker’s rights worldwide. ILO has campaigned
and effectively worked consistently against forced labour. In 2001, the ILO
built up a Special Action on Forced Labour (SAP-FL) to attempt to raise
worldwide attention awareness with constrained and forced work in its diverse
structures. It has embraced a few worldwide and nation particular examinations
and studies, on such various parts of forced labour as bonded labour, human
trafficking, human trafficking, forced domestic work, rural servitude and
forced prison labour.





NGOs collectively
play a significant role in combatting the abuse and exploitation of human
rights. This occurs through them reporting on and exposing exploitations, by
researching, informing and raising awareness to the general public and
governments of occurrences, instances and patterns of abuse, and by working to
combat these causes, incidents of or effects of abuse.  An example of this is the current issue that
is a worldwide topic of the current slave trade in Libya. The
African country was exposed through the media for the exploitation of migrants
and refugees. The
International Organisation for Migration (IOM) which is a UN body first
reported in April that as many as 700,00 African migrants who were travelling
through Niger and Libya were being kidnapped by human traffickers and sold into
forced labour for as little as $400.


The media plays a vital role in informing the public about the existence and
nature of modern slavery in Australian. Films, books and documentaries provide
the source of information on the international issue. These sources present the
issue of human trafficking and contemporary slavery as a means to educate,
inform and alert the nation of the exploitation. A prime example of this is a documentary
called “Trafficking”. The document aired in July 2006 on the Australian SBS channel.

It is a documentary about sex slavery in Australia. The documentary was viewed
by an audience of over 500,000. Trafficked alarmed the country and performed as
a catalyst for some victims of trafficking to lodge the compensation claims.

The director, Luigi Acquisto, said, ‘the film made legal history and set
precedents for future victims’


In conclusion, modern day slavery and human trafficking are yet to display
signs of completely ceasing. Responses such as NGO, Criminal Code Act, The
Australian Human Rights Strategy and the Protocol are legally binding and non-binding
domestic and international responses that are proven to be effective. This is
due to the extent to which the issue of human trafficking has reached is that
of a universal level.