Combating Human Trafficking in Asia: A Resource Guide to International and Regional Legal Instruments, Political Commitments and Recommended Practices

Combating Human Trafficking in Asia: A Resource Guide to International and Regional Legal Instruments, Political Commitments and Recommended Practices

Combating Human Trafficking in Asia: A Resource Guide to International and Regional Legal Instruments, Political Commitments and Recommended Practices

Combating Human Trafficking in Asia: A Resource Guide to International and Regional Legal Instruments, Political Commitments and Recommended Practices

Synopsis

Trafficking in women and children continues to be a major problem for countries in the Asia and Pacific region. The nature and pattern of trafficking is complex, and the transboundary nature of the problem calls for bilateral, subregional, regional and international responses, in addition to national policies. This resource guide seeks to provide a comprehensive framework of legal and other instruments to combat trafficking in persons. Topics discussed include: the range of legal and other instruments available; existing extraterritorial criminal legislation and drafting issues; human rights instruments; instruments against slavery; international and regional trafficking instruments; international and regional migration instruments; labour laws; child and gender specific instruments.

Excerpt

The lack of specific and/or adequate legislation on trafficking at the national level has been identified as
one of the major obstacles in the fight against trafficking. There is an urgent need to harmonize legal
definitions, procedures and cooperation at the national and regional levels in accordance with
international standards. The development of an appropriate legal framework that is consistent with
relevant international instruments and standards will also play an important role in the prevention of
trafficking and related exploitation.

Recommended Principles and Guidelines, Recommended Guideline 4

The legal dimension is implicated in all facets of a multifaceted response to trafficking. Each of the dimensions has its own set of substantive laws and legal procedures. Every dimension requires States to draft or improve national laws and to harmonize national laws. Several dimensions call upon States to draft national plans of action, and States are encouraged to enter into memoranda of understanding or other bilateral, multilateral or regional agreements to govern issues in the legal dimension. Such issues include evidentiary rules, rules of courtroom procedure, standards for treatment of victims and witness, remedies (including victim compensation and asset seizure), corruption and procedure, among many others. One such issue, extraterritoriality, is discussed in detail in this chapter. Additional issues are discussed in the chapter on law enforcement, as many issues arise in that context.

II. EXTRATERRITORIAL CRIMINAL LAWS TO COMBAT TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS

In 2000, a Paris court sentenced a French national to seven years in jail for the rape of an 11-year old Thai child during a holiday in Thailand. The crime concerned was based upon a mixture of oral sex and the filming of fellatio on videotape, constituting multiple forms of sexual exploitation of the child. This was a landmark case for France, as it was a groundbreaking application of France's criminal law to incriminate one of its nationals where the crime had taken place beyond the geographical confines of France. This was particularly important as the Frenchman concerned had not been punished in Thailand and had presumably thought that he would be able to escape back to France with impunity.

France's extraterritorial criminal law lent a helping hand where there would otherwise have been no effective remedy. Although the case above was not dealt with on the basis of trafficking in children, it opened the door to the nexus between extraterritorial laws and their potential or actual application against various forms of abuse and exploitation of humans, including trafficking in persons.

The Nation Newspaper (Thailand), October 21, 2000.

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