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Trafficking of human beings is a widespread practice in the modern world. It has been estimated that between 600,000 and 800,000 people, the majority of whom are women and children, are trafficked worldwide each year. The rapid growth in trafficking of human beings and its transnational nature have prompted the international community to take urgent action, and a major step was taken when the United Nations adopted the Protocol to Prevent and Suppress Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (Trafficking Protocol), attached to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (Organised Crime Convention) in December 2000. Yet addressing the human rights aspects of the phenomenon has proven to be difficult in practice, and so far a holistic approach which addresses wider issues surrounding the phenomenon has not been taken.
The purpose of this book is to go further than simply recognising that trafficking is a human rights issue. It attempts to establish a human rights framework to analyse and address the act by identifying applicable human rights norms and principles from the beginning to the end of the trafficking process, such as the rights to life, work, health, as well as freedom from torture and slavery. It then articulates key obligations under international human rights law, including the obligations to prohibit trafficking, punish traffickers, protect victims, and to address the causes and the consequences of the practice.