UNODC: The Role of Corruption in Trafficking in Persons

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The UNODC report focuses on the close interrelation between corruption and human trafficking, critiquing existing international legal instruments that deal only indirectly with this problem, and providing recommendations on how to strengthen these tools.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime outlines the impetus for its report:

Trafficking in persons and corruption are closely linked criminal activities, whose interrelation is frequently referred to in international fora. Yet, the correlation between the two phenomena, and the actual impact of corruption on trafficking in persons, are generally neglected in the development and implementation of anti-human trafficking policies and measures. This lack of attention may substantially undermine initiatives to combat trafficking in persons and prevent the customization of responses as needed. Only after recognizing the existence and the effects of corruption in the context of human trafficking, can the challenges posed by it be met.

Most common among the corrupt practices used in trafficking persons, according to the report, are bribery and the abuse of power by border and visa officials. This chain extends farther, however, in some cases widening to include actors such as law enforcement and security officials, as well as parliamentarians and embassy staff.

Though existing international conventions contain provisions to deal with corruption in trafficking in persons, they are limited by their inability to address the problem in isolation rather than in a generalized framework of corruption. The UNODC provides 15 recommendations to streamline efforts and focus on corruption in human trafficking in a systematic way.

Click here to read the full report (pdf).

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