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United Nations Last update : 15.06.2012

  • Model Law against Trafficking in Persons

    United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Vienna, 2009, 100 pages

    The UNODC Model Law against Trafficking in Persons was developed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to assist States in implementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

    It is designed to be adaptable to the needs of each State, whatever its legal tradition and social, economic, cultural and geographical conditions.

    The Model Law is not meant to be incorporated as a whole without a careful review of the whole legislative context of a given State. A domestic legislation implementing the Convention is essential for it to be effective.

  • The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime

    Adopted by General Assembly resolution 55/25 of 15 November 2000

    The Convention is the main international instrument in the fight against transnational organized crime. It opened for signature by Member States in Palermo, Italy, on 12-15 December 2000 and entered into force on 29 September 2003. The Convention represents a major step in the fight against transnational organized crime, including human trafficking. It signifies the need to foster and improve the international cooperation in order to tackle these problems. States that ratify this Convention commit themselves to taking a number of measures against transnational organized crime. These include the creation of domestic criminal offences; the adoption of new comprehensive frameworks for extradition, mutual legal assistance and law enforcement cooperation; and the promotion of training and technical assistance for building or upgrading the necessary capacity of national authorities.

  • United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children

    Adopted by General Assembly resolution 55/25, is supplementing the UN Convention. It entered into force on 25 December 2003.

    The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children is the first global legally binding instrument with an agreed definition on trafficking in persons. The Protocol contains provisions on a range of issues, including criminalisation, assistance to and protection for victims, the status of victims in the receiving states, repatriation of victims, preventive measures, actions to discourage the demand, exchange of information and training, and measures to strengthen the effectiveness of border controls. The protocol stipulates that states parties must adopt or strengthen legislative or other measures to discourage the demand that fosters all forms of exploitation of persons, especially women and children that leads to trafficking. States must become parties to the Convention before they can become parties to any of its Protocol.

  • United Nations Global Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons

    (Resolution A/64/L.64) adopted 30 July 2010

    The United Nations Global Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons was adopted by the General Assembly on 30 July 2010. The Action Plan  include concrete actions to prevent trafficking in persons, protect and assist victims, prosecute related crimes and strengthen partnerships among Governments, civil society organizations and the private sector, including the media. The Action Plan also includes the decision to establish a United Nations voluntary trust fund for victims of trafficking in persons, especially women and children, to be managed by UNODC.

    Additionally, the issue of human trafficking will be mainstreamed into broader United Nations policies and programmes on economic and social development, human rights, the rule of law, good governance, education, and natural disaster and post-conflict reconstruction.

  • The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

    Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989, entered into force on 2 September 1990.

    The Convention is the most widely ratified human rights convention. The Convention deals with the child-specific needs and rights.

    • There are specific protection rights in the Convention which include protection from all forms of child abuse, neglect, exploitation and cruelty.
    • Articles 34 and 35 of the Convention say governments should protect children from all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse and take all possible measure to ensure children are not abducted, sold or trafficked. 
    • The provisions in the Convention are augmented by the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

    To this date, 194 countries have ratified the Convention, including every member of the United Nations except the United States. Somalia has currently not ratified it, but its government announced that it would shortly do so.

  • Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

    Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution A/RES/54/263 of 25 May 2000. It entered into force on 18 January 2002.

    The  Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography supplements the Convention on the rights of the Child by providing States with detailed requirements to end the sexual exploitation and abuse of children.  It also protects children from being sold for non-sexual purposes such as forced labour, illegal adoption and organ donation.

  • The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

    The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) adopted by the UN General Assembly on 18 December 1979, is often described as an international bill of rights for women. It entered into force as an international treaty on 3 September 1981 after the twentieth country had ratified it.

    The Convention

    • Forbids all forms of discrimination against women and calls on states parties to identify and eliminate any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women of their human rights and fundamental freedoms.
    • Enjoins states parties to take appropriate measures against all forms of trafficking in and exploitation of women through prostitution.
    • Observance of the convention is monitored by a committee of independent experts.
  • The Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour

    The Convention, known as the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, was adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) on 17 June 1999, as ILO Convention No 182. Thus, 19 November 2000 emerges as its date of coming into force, since the Convention itself provides that it would come into force 12 months after the date of the second ratification.

    Child prostitution and the sale of children come under the definition of "the worst forms of child labour". All states parties to the convention are committed to the immediate elimination of these extreme forms of child labour.

  • The Forced Labour Convention (C29)

    Adopted on 28 June 1930 and entered into force on 1 May 1932

    The Convention was the first international instrument which required the suppression of enforced labour in all its forms. The Forced Labour Convention paved the way for the 1956 Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery.

  • The Abolition of Forced Labour Convention (C105)

    Adopted on 25 June 1957 and entered into force on 17 January 1959, in accordance with article 4.

    Article 1 of the Convention prohibits the use of any form of forced or compulsory labour.

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