Gina Temple Talks About Human Rights–Based Approach to Trafficking

Gina Temple Talks About Human Rights–Based Approach to Trafficking

Human trafficking infringes on the fundamental civil, cultural, social, economic and political rights of the individuals impacted by it. As Gina Temple points out, the international community has long recognized human trafficking as a human rights issue.  Human trafficking constitutes a contemporary form of slavery. Individuals can be trafficked for bonded labor, forced labor, child labor, as well as prostitution and sex work.  These individuals must be identified as victims of criminal activities rather than offenders.

Gina Temple sheds light on human rights–based approach to trafficking

Even though the link between human rights and human trafficking has been established, human rights concerns are unfortunately not always the focus of the responses to trafficking. For instance, cross-border trafficking is very often considered to be an immigration issue. Its human rights implications are seen as secondary. Moreover, many regions may address trafficking as a matter of public order or crime, instead of a human rights violation.

An international consensus has developed around the need for a rights-based approach to addressing human trafficking over the last decade or so. This approach has been advocated by the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council, and so has multiple relevant human rights mechanisms including treaty bodies. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) additionally advocates a victim-centered approach to trafficking. This approach involves putting emphasis on the primacy of human rights in efforts to prevent and address trafficking.

A human rights-based approach involves evaluating the human rights abuses that occur during trafficking and the responsibilities of states under international human rights law. This approach aims to uncover and rectify discriminatory practices, and unequal power dynamics that perpetuate trafficking, protect perpetrators from punishment, as well as deprive trafficking victims of justice.

Adopting a human rights-based approach means that national, regional, and global efforts to combat trafficking must be rooted in the principles and responsibilities outlined in international human rights law. The prime objectives of programs and policies must focus on protecting and promoting the rights of the victims. Human trafficking victims are likely to encounter several violations of their rights through the cycle of trafficking. They can be deprived of their right to choose an occupation, of their liberty and so on.  Policies meant to combat human trafficking should address the violations of these rights. Principles and standards derived from international human rights law must be used to guide all stages of the response to human trafficking.

As Gina Temple mentions, a human rights approach to countering human trafficking firstly requires an acknowledgement that trafficking is, first and foremost, a violation of human rights. This implies that everyone involved in anti-trafficking efforts must integrate human rights into their analysis of the problem as well as into their responses. Such n approach requires people to consider the impact that a law, policy, practice or measure may have on persons who have been trafficked and persons who are vulnerable to being trafficked,. It also involves rejecting responses that compromise rights and freedoms of the victims.


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