Research Handbooks in International Law series
Edited by Vincent Chetail and Céline Bauloz
Chapter 4: Smuggling and trafficking of human beings
Smuggling and trafficking of persons are two different things. However they have elements in common and are sometimes confused. That confusion is exacerbated by the fact that an activity that begins as smuggling may become trafficking. This Chapter defines smuggling and trafficking as legal phenomena and gives an overview of an area that has been the object of significant attention at the international level in recent years. Smuggling and trafficking are, legally, rather complex. Both practices are often addressed primarily as matters of criminal law yet it would be misleading to see them only in this way. The nature of smuggling and trafficking means that there are significant human rights issues involved. In November 2000 the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime (UNCTOC) was adopted in Vienna. At the same conference two protocols were also adopted: the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (the Trafficking Protocol) and the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (the Smuggling Protocol). UNCTOC is a mother convention which establishes a general regime for tackling transnational organized crime. The two protocols are the first specific instruments adopted within this system.
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