Developing an Effective Criminal Justice Response to Trafficking in Persons: Lessons from the Front Line
International Criminal Justice Review, Vol. 18, 2008
26 Pages Posted: 1 Dec 2008 Last revised: 22 Sep 2009
Date Written: September 1, 2008
Trafficking in persons, defined as the buying and selling of individuals within and between countries for the express purpose of their exploitation, now affects all regions and most countries of the world. Over the past decade, there has been increasing international acceptance of the need for an effective, internationally coordinated response. However, the practical difficulties in realizing this goal are considerable. No country can yet lay claim to genuine, extensive experience in dealing with trafficking as a criminal phenomenon. Most States are developing and adapting their criminal justice responses on the run, often under strong political pressure, and principally through trial and error. While communication between national criminal justice agencies on this issue is improving, there is still very little cooperation or cross-fertilization of ideas across national borders.
In this Comment Piece, the authors have sought to identify potentially promising approaches by drawing on emerging international rules as well as their experience of working with a number of national criminal justice agencies on this issue. The result is a proposal for consideration and debate that sets out eight essential elements of an effective national criminal justice response to human trafficking. Each of the proposed elements is described in detail, justified with reference to relevant international standards, and illustrated with examples from current professional practice.
Keywords: human trafficking, trafficking in persons, trafficking, criminal justice, human rights, transnational organized crime
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