Defining human trafficking and its elements
Whenever there is conversation around human trafficking, the mind tends to conjure interesting pictures. And it is okay if the picture your mind conjures is of people in chains. That’s pretty much the implication of it, literal and otherwise.
Trafficking comes in many forms. According to Article 3 of the 2000 UN Protocol on Human Trafficking, trafficking in persons shall mean:
Article 3 of the 2000 UN Protocol on Human Trafficking states that trafficking in persons shall mean: An action (recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt), a means (threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power, or a position of vulnerability, or the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person) and a purpose (at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs).
- Any action (recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt)
- Means (threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or a position of vulnerability, the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person, having control over another person)
- And a purpose (at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs).
You will notice that this definition consists of three important elements – action, a means, and a purpose.
The sequential interaction of these three elements completes the cycle that creates victims of trafficking. From the acquaintance in your local community who knows someone who can organize a job or visa, to the individual who facilitates illegal crossing at the border, to the person who supplies rooms to accommodate the victims in transit, to the person who eventually buys the victim, it is a cycle that ends in modern day slavery.
The first European definition came with the 2005 Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings. The convention evolved the UN legislation and provided stricter measures on protecting and promoting the rights of trafficked persons.
The EU definition differs to that which is contained in the 2000 UN Protocol on Human Trafficking, and the 2005 Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings. In terms of definition, the EU definition includes illegal adoption or forced marriage as examples of exploitation.
Action Element of Human Trafficking
Recruitment which involves enlisting new people to be exploited, and transportation, is a broad term which can occur nationally or across borders. Also, there are no limits as to the type of transportation it may include. Transportation may include carriage by car, foot, flights, etc., over long or short distances. As such, if a person is moved from one house to another by a means (deceit or force) for the purpose of exploitation, this is enough to constitute human trafficking.
The transfer element of action refers to the handing over of an individual from one person/group to another.
Harboring refers to accommodating or housing a victim for the purpose of the removal of organs. The receipt of persons is an extensive term that includes receiving victims at the place where they will be exploited or, at various places along their journey path, enroute their destination.
Means element of human trafficking
This is key and pivotal in understanding the etymology of human trafficking. As already stated above, there are seven acknowledged means of facilitating human trafficking operations around the world:
- Threat or use of force
- Abuse of power or vulnerability
- Giving or receiving payments or benefits
For sports trafficking, which we are particular about at Mission 89, the means mostly involves deception which eventually reveals itself as fraud and abuse of vulnerability. This is because victims are often too eager to escape economic situations considered difficult, banking on the success of their sports careers through the eyes and imaginations of the wonderful promises made by rogue agents who are only itching to make profit, before moving on to scout for their next victims.
Exploitation element of human trafficking
Where the concept of human exploitation arises in international legal instruments, it is not defined. Defining exploitation is problematic and currently is resolved at a national level.
However, this much is true: manipulating young athletes to leave their homelands through underhand means, to sign slavish contracts with sports clubs no better than slave camps, are a perfect explanation of what the concept of exploitation is about.
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