Together Against Trafficking in Human Beings

Abuse of a position of vulnerability and other “means” within the definition of trafficking in persons

Abuse of a position of vulnerability and other “means” within the definition of trafficking in persons

Issue Paper, UNODOC, 2013, 108 pages

The Issue Paper: “Abuse of a Position of Vulnerability” proposes that important concepts contained in the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children are not clearly understood. In particular, questions have emerged regarding those aspects of the definition that are not elsewhere defined in international law or commonly known to the major legal systems of the world. The existence of such questions means that the parameters around what constitutes “trafficking” are not yet firmly established and, therefore, are not being consistently implemented and applied by the States prosecuting traffickers.

The Issue Paper is divided into 4 parts:

  • Part 1 provides introductory and background material.
  • Part 2 provides an overview and analysis of the international legal and policy framework around abuse of a position of vulnerability and related concepts explored in the Paper.
  • Part 3 summarizes and analyzes the results of the survey of national law and practice as it relates to the “means” element of trafficking: most particularly abuse of a position of vulnerability.
  • Part 4 seeks to draw together the findings from legislation, case law and the views of practitioners around a series of key issues and questions, including: the place of abuse of vulnerability in the crime of trafficking; the relationship of abuse of vulnerability with other “means” and the trafficking “acts”, as well as definitional concepts such as consent and exploitation; evidentiary issues; practitioner perceptions of the value of the concept and views on the accuracy and utility of the Interpretative Note attached to Article 3 of the Protocol, that seeks to explain “abuse of a position of vulnerability”.