Protecting Trafficking Victims
The World Day Against Trafficking in Persons is observed annually on July 30 to raise awareness about human trafficking and to promote and protect the rights of trafficking victims.
Although focused on the same issue, eliminating human trafficking, modern-day slavery and exploitation, the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons is separate and distinct from the United States' National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
The World Day Against Trafficking in Persons was established by a United Nations resolution and first observed in 2014. National Human Trafficking Awareness Day was established in the United States in 2007 to raise awareness in the United States about human trafficking and national slavery.
What is Human Trafficking?
The formal definition of human trafficking used worldwide was established by the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, a United Nations Convention adopted in 2003. The Protocol specifies three primary elements of trafficking in persons: the act, the means, and the purpose. What is done, how it’s done and why it’s done.
Traffickers deceive, coerce, threaten, abuse power and use force — the means and methods — to recruit, move, receive, shelter and maintain control of their victims, for the express purpose of exploiting them.
Exploitation includes, but is not limited to, the prostitution of others for sex, forced labor or services, slavery or similar practices, servitude, or the removal of organs.
Sex trafficking and forced labor are the most notorious types of trafficking, but trafficking has other forms as well. Victims are also trafficked and exploited for benefit fraud, as beggars, for forced or sham marriages, in pornography production and for organ removal. These other forms of trafficking are under-reported, do not receive as much public attention and contribute to the widely-held perception "trafficking doesn’t happen where I live."
Sadly, human trafficking is a global crisis. Trafficking in persons affects nearly every country in the world; no country is immune. The victims of trafficking are building our homes, cleaning our houses, processing our food and making our clothes. They are in our lives.
Trafficking in Persons and the World Agenda for Sustainable Development
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the United Nations in 2015 and also known as the Sustainable Development Goals, established trafficking prevention and the end of trafficking in persons as a global priority.
The 17 goals and 169 targets of the Sustainable Development Goals focus international efforts on ending poverty, reducing inequality, protecting the planet, promoting inclusivity and creating sustainable economic growth. A major objective in achieving the SDG goals is the end of human trafficking.
- Goal 16 — "Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies" — calls for the end of abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children.
- Goal 8 — "Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all" — calls for immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor and end modern slavery and human trafficking.
- Goal 5 — "Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls" — requires the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls, including trafficking and all types of exploitation.
The fact that multiple goals address trafficking in persons in different contexts confirms that human trafficking is a global crisis...and it's feeding on the vulnerable in the world.