International Law


The United Nations

The United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT) was conceived to promote the global fight on human trafficking, on the basis of international agreements reached at the UN. To date, 140 parties have signed the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons especially Women and Children, which supplements the Palermo Convention against transnational organized crime.

UN Women

In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. In doing so, UN Member States took an historic step in accelerating the Organization’s goals on gender equality and the empowerment of women. The creation of UN Women came about as part of the UN reform agenda, bringing together resources and mandates for greater impact. It merges and builds on the important work of four previously distinct parts of the UN system, which focused exclusively on gender equality and women’s empowerment:
Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW)
International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW)
Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI)
United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)

Human Trafficking: Joint UN Commentary on the EU Directive – A Human Rights-Based Approach
Remarks by UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri at a CSW58 side event on Trafficking in human beings – A severe form of violence against women and girls and a flagrant violation of human rights, New York, 10 March 2014.

United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute

UNICRI is a United Nations entity established in 1967 to support countries worldwide in preventing crime and facilitating criminal justice.

Crime is a common concern both for governments and citizens across the globe. As crime becomes increasingly internationalized, new forms of crime emerge, and organized crime spreads, national responses and international cooperation are required in the fields of crime prevention and criminal justice. UNICRI supports governments and the international community at large in tackling criminal threats to social peace, development and political stability. UNICRI is mandated to assist intergovernmental, governmental and non-governmental organizations in formulating and implementing improved policies in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice.

The Bibliography on Trafficking in Human Beings The Bibliography includes:

All the material that has been collected for the preparation of specific projects developed by UNICRI’s Counter-Trafficking Team and all the related documents received by the UNICRI Library since the year 2000.
These documents are available in hard copy and may be consulted at the Institute. The database enables many of the documents to be consulted via the relevant electronic link as well.

International Labour Organization

The main aims of the ILO are to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work-related issues. Forced labour takes different forms, including debt bondage, trafficking and other forms of modern slavery. The victims are the most vulnerable – women and girls forced into prostitution, migrants trapped in debt bondage, and sweatshop or farm workers kept there by clearly illegal tactics and paid little or nothing.

International Organization for Migration

IOM is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society.

IOM operates from the outset that trafficking in persons needs to be approached within the overall context of managing migration. Its broad range of activities is implemented in partnership with governmental institutions, NGOs and international organizations. The approach is based on three principles that govern all its counter-trafficking activities:

Respect for human rights
Physical, mental and social well-being of the individual and his or her community
Sustainability through institutional capacity building of governments and civil society

IOM conducts both quantitative and qualitative research as an essential information source to improve its – and others – fight against human trafficking. Specific areas of focus have included human trafficking routes and trends, the causes and consequences of human trafficking both for the individual trafficked person and for society as well as the structures, motivations, and modi operandi of organized criminal groups. While much of this work has been done at national level, IOM increasingly collects and analyzes data on human trafficking from a regional perspective to better support cooperation between states to combat cross-border trade. To support these efforts, IOM carries out considerable research in the areas of legislation and policy.

International Treaties and Instruments

The Convention on the Rights of the Child
Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime
United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols Thereto
International Labour Organization Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189)
International Labour Organization Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29)
International Labour Organization Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182)
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women New York, 18 December 1979
Declaration on the Rights of Mentally Retarded Persons Proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 2856 (XXVI) of 20 December 1971
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons Proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 3447 (XXX) of 9 December 1975
Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others, Approved by General Assembly resolution 317 (IV) of 2 December 1949, Entry into force: 25 July 1951, in accordance with article 24
Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 55/25 of 15 November 2000 (not in force)
List of International Human Rights Instruments
Universal Declaration on Human Rights
The International Bill of Human Rights – Fact Sheet