Falling Short of the Mark: An International Study on the Treatment of Victims of Human Trafficking

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Victims of human trafficking live in a world of fear and despair. The treatment afforded to these victims when they finally emerge from the violent and brutal cycle of human trafficking tells us something about our own societies. This Study has been undertaken to evaluate the progress made by various developed countries towards implementing their international obligations to protect victims of human trafficking, and to assess the treatment given to these victims in comparison to international best practices. The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime ("Trafficking Protocol") was adopted on November 15, 2000, and came into force on December 25, 2003. With 117 signatories, it has widespread international support. One of its main objectives is to protect and assist trafficking victims. Part I of this Study consists of country narratives that describe and analyze the law and practice of selected jurisdictions with respect to their compliance with Articles 6-8 of the Trafficking Protocol. This Study concludes that Australia, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden and the United States are generally complying with their international obligations under the Trafficking Protocol related to the protection of victims of human trafficking. However, the United Kingdom has failed to meet these international standards and is currently reviewing its policy in this area in light of its recent ratification of the Trafficking Protocol. Canada has systematically failed to comply with its international obligations under the Trafficking Protocol related to the protection of victims of human trafficking. Canada's record of dealing with trafficking victims is an international embarrassment and contrary to best practices. Since November 2004, The Future Group has been corresponding with the Government of Canada to attempt to obtain information on its compliance with Articles 6-8 of the Trafficking Protocol. In addition to extremely lengthy delays in responding to inquiries, former Liberal Cabinet Ministers passed the buck to each other, ignored the request for information, and failed to detail any steps that Canada has taken whatsoever to meet its international obligations in this regard. The new Conservative Government, under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, which took power in early February 2006, has not yet had an opportunity to announce its policy in this area. Part II of this Study provides a comparative analysis of best practices in the jurisdictions that are under review. Those countries that are global leaders in best practices, as well as those which have fallen short of the mark for the treatment of trafficking victims may be identified. The overall grades awarded in this Study, which are described in further detail in this Study, are as follows: United States-B, Australia-B, Norway-B, Sweden-B, Germany-B, Italy-B, United Kingdom-D

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2006

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SeriesAll Faculty Publications

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