Human Trafficking

  1. definition
  2. examples and/or illustrations
  3. other useful sources
  4. bibliography
  5. case law
  6. other related words/concepts


1)  The act of recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons … by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person … for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum:


  • the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation,
  • forced labour services
  • slavery or practices similar to slavery
  • servitude
  •  or the removal organs

 The United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/pdf/protocoltraffic.pdf

2) the business of helping people to enter a country illegally and forcing them to wok there for very little money because they have no rights

3) the action of dealing or trading in something illegal

4) trade, barter


Examples and/or Illustrations

Simplified chart (from the 2000 UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children definition), as a useful tool for analyzing individual cases to determine whether or not they constitute trafficking. A trafficking case must have at least one of the elements within each of the three criteria of Process, Means, and Goals.

US Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report, OFFICE TO MONITOR AND COMBAT TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS, June 4, 2008
www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2008/105487.htm (Last Accessed June 21, 2012)

Based on the definition of the Trafficking in Persons Protocol, the trafficking in persons has three constituent elements:

THE ACT (What is done)- Recruitment, transportation, Transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons

THE MEANS (How it is done)- Threat or use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or vulnerability, or giving payments or benefits to a person in control  of the victim

THE PURPOSE (Why it is done) – For the purpose of exploitation, which includes exploiting the prostitution of others, sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery or similar practices and the removal or organs. 

www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/what-is-human-trafficking.html#What_is_Human_Trafficking (Last Accessed June 21, 2012)


Other Useful Sources

Trafficking in Persons or Human Trafficking, Palermo Protocol, www.palermoprotocol.com/

IOM, Migration Law Database (International, Regional, National Instruments) www.imldb.iom.int/section.do

Institutions: EU, NATO, OSCE www.palermoprotocol.com/index.php?option=com_fjrelated&view=fjrelated&layout=blog&Itemid=619

Crown Prosecution Service, Strategy and Policy Directorate, Policy for Prosecuting Cases of Human Trafficking www.cps.gov.uk/publications/docs/policy_for_prosecuting_cases_of_human_trafficking.pdf

Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, International agreements: http://action.web.ca/home/catw/readingroom.shtml?cat_name=International+Agreements

Code of Practice for Victims of Crime www.direct.gov.uk/prod_consum_dg/groups/dg_digitalassets/@dg/@en/documents/digitalasset/dg_073647.pdf

Humantrafficking.org, A Web Resource for Combatting Human Trafficking http://humantrafficking.org/

Stop Human Trafficking Now – Images

The FBI – Human Trafficking www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/human_trafficking

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police – Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre



Sarrica, Fabrizio, 2009. “Trafficking in Persons: Analyses on Europe”. Vienna. UNODC

U.S. Department of State, 2011. “Trafficking in Persons Report” www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2011/index.htm

IOM, March 2012 .  “Global Eye on Human Trafficking”, ( Issue 11)- http://publications.iom.int/bookstore/free/GlobalEyeissue11_29Feb2012.pdf

 Gozdiziak, E. and Bum, M., 2008. “ Data and Research on Human Trafficking: Bibliography of Research-Based Literature”

Institute for the Study of International Migration, Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University http://humansecuritygateway.com/documents/ISIM_HumanTrafficking_Bibliography.pdf

UNHCR, Refugee Protection and Human Trafficking: Selected Legal Reference Materials, First Edition, December  2008.
www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/home/opendocPDFViewer.html?docid=4986fd6b2&query=human trafficking

Lara Talsma, Human Trafficking in Mexico and Neighbouring Countries: A Review of Protection Approaches, UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency, Policy Development and Evaluation Unit, June 2012.  www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/home/opendocPDFViewer.html?docid=4f070a83540&query=human trafficking


Case Law

UNODC (United Nations Office On Drugs and Crime) has developed a Human Trafficking Case Law Database

http://www.unodc.org/cld/index.jspx (Last Accessed June 21, 2012)

Palermo Protocol, Court Cases www.palermoprotocol.com/index.php?option=com_fjrelated&view=fjrelated&layout=blog&Itemid=597(Last Accessed June 21, 2012)



Other Related Words/Concepts:

  • Organized Crime, Lucrative business, Victims of Trafficking, Trafficker, Pimp, Trade in People, Illegal Migration, Migrant smuggling, Forced labour and labour exploitation, Sex trafficking, Sexual Exploitation, Modern day slavery, PPP (Prevention of Trafficking, Protection of Victims and Prosecution of Perpetrators)