Trafficking in persons is a serious human rights violation. Traffickers abuse the vulnerable position of persons lacking legal or safe means to migrate to another country or area. Victims usually have to labour in slave-like conditions to pay off their 'debt' and face violence, abuse and exploitation. 

Most states take action against trafficking in persons. While intentions might be good, in many cases effects have been less positive. States prioritise prosecution and punishment of traffickers, while often failing to effectively safeguard the rights of persons who have been trafficked. Moreover, anti-trafficking efforts often even negatively impact the rights of trafficked persons and other groups that might be affected by these efforts, such as migrant domestic workers or sex workers.

The need for a human rights approach to trafficking in persons is increasingly being recognised. It means that States must not only prevent, investigate and prosecute trafficking, but also provide trafficked persons with assistance, protection and compensation. Moreover, anti-trafficking policies should promote, protect and respect the human rights of all persons, including trafficked persons, migrant workers and sex workers. At the minimum they should do no harm. Finally, a human rights approach is based on fundamental principles such as participation, accountability and non-discrimination.

Rights for change promote the use of the RiGHTGuide that shows the positive and negative effects of anti-trafficking measures. This makes lobbying for more better measures against trafficking more effective. To learn more about RiGHTGuide, please follow this link

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