Trafficking in women can encompass a number of illegal actions, including abuses of the individual victim’s human rights, transnational criminal activities, illegal immigration and violations of labor standards.  Both international law and national laws may apply to trafficking cases. 

Because of the increase in trafficking cases worldwide, most of which involve multiple border crossings, consistent international standards are crucial to effectively prosecute traffickers and protect trafficking victims.  At the same time, national or domestic law plays an important role in combating trafficking since local law enforcement agencies are often the first to encounter trafficking victims.  Regional legal and human rights institutions, such as the Council of Europe and the European Union, have also recognized a need to harmonize existing anti-trafficking laws and policies across borders and within the region, ensuring that national laws and regional policies are consistent. 

This section of the Stop Violence Against Women website provides an overview of anti-trafficking law and policy at the international and regional levels, focused on the European human rights system as well as examples of domestic legislation aimed at combating trafficking in women.  It is important to recognize the distinction, at the international level, between legally binding documents, such as treaties, and non-binding documents, such as resolutions and declarations.  This section of the site discusses both sets of materials in the context of anti-trafficking policy, since together they form international standards against which advocates can measure the progress made by national institutions to combat trafficking.  This section of the site also includes a discussion of specific legal and policy measures that governments can take in order to address the problem of trafficking within their borders. 

The intention of this section of the site is to provide an overview of international law and policy on trafficking, so that advocates can measures compliance with these standards in their own countries.  The analysis of how to translate these international standards into domestic legislation aims to assist advocates in improving national mechanisms for the protection of trafficked persons and the prosecution of traffickers.  The Trafficking: Law and Policy section also includes a list of the documents referenced in this section as well as other useful legal resources and libraries.


The International Legal Framework 

| Home | Contact | Feedback | Disclaimer |

Copyright © 2003 Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights.
Permission is granted to use this material for non-commercial purposes. Please use proper attribution.