[Stop-traffic] News/UN: UN Assembly approves major treaty to combat crime

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/UN: UN Assembly approves major treaty to combat crime
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Fri Dec 22 2000 - 12:29:40 EST

Dear list,

The Trafficking Protocol, contrary to what this article states, will
cover all forms of trafficking in persons for forced labor.
Trafficking for forced prostitution is not the only focus of the
Protocol. I am very happy that the Trafficking Protocol reflects the
modern understanding of trafficking - that people are trafficked for
more than just forced prostitution. Hundreds of thousands of people
are trafficked around the world for all types labor, including
domestic servitude, forced agricultural labor, sweatshop labor,
forced begging, fishery work.....

If anybody is interested in seeing the entire Protocol, go to:

Be sure to read the travaux preparatoires, it explains the terms and
highlights the issues. One of the major confusions at the drafting
meetings for the Protocol was whether or not the definition should
include women who migrate for voluntary, non-coerced work in the sex
industry. In the end, the countries agreed to allow each country to
address voluntary, non-coerced women in sex work as they see fit.
The travaux explains that the terms "sexual exploitation" and
"prostitution of others" ARE NOT DEFINED in the Protocol. Thus, each
country will address these issues as it sees fit. Furthermore, the
travaux explains that every person is guaranteed the right to mount a
defense, including traffickers.

I have included the Trafficking Protocol definition at the bottom of
this email.



            UN Assembly approves major treaty to combat crime

RTw 11/16/00 1:51 AM

Reuters Ltd.

     By Daniel Bases
      UNITED NATIONS, Nov 15 (Reuters) - In an effort to combat global
criminal networks, the U.N. General Assembly approved on Wednesday a treaty
that sets legal standards for fighting illicit trafficking of humans, drugs
and money laundering.
      Called the U.N. Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, the
treaty commits nations to adopting uniform laws to fight criminal groups,
bolster money laundering investigations and streamline extradition
      The treaty or convention opens for signature at a conference on
December 12-15 in Palermo, Italy, once the heart of organized crime. A
minimum of 40 governments must sign and their legislatures ratify the
convention before it becomes international law.
      The 189-member assembly approved a resolution on the treaty by
consensus, without a vote.
      "The convention adopted today will be a welcome tool for
investigators, prosecutors and judges throughout the world," said Pino
Arlacchi, head of the Vienna-based U.N. Office for Drug Control and Crime
      The assembly also approved two protocols to the treaty that nations
would sign separately. They are against the trafficking of women and
children in the sex trade and the smuggling of migrant workers. A third
protocol against trafficking of firearms is still under negotiation.
      Under the convention, countries must criminalize the participation in
an organized criminal group, money laundering, corruption and the
obstruction of justice.
      Other major criminal activities targeted are the smuggling of arms,
trafficking in illegal drugs and nuclear material, committing fraud,
trafficking in endangered species of wild flora and fauna, and offenses
against cultural heritage.
      By signing the treaty, governments would "deny safe havens to those
who engage in transnational organized crime by prosecuting those crimes
wherever they occur and by cooperating at the international level," the
text says.
      In order to combat money-laundering, the treaty calls for countries to
license and regulate their financial institutions; lift bank secrecy laws
which can prevent the investigation of crimes; outlaw anonymous bank
accounts or accounts with false names; and set up financial intelligence
units to share information about possible wrongdoing.
      The treaty also establishes a voluntary fund to help countries
implement it, including the protection of witnesses testifying against
criminal groups.
      According to the World Bank figures, cited by the United Nations,
corruption can reduce the economic growth rate of a country by 0.5 percent
to 1.0 percent per year.
       In October, 10 women foreign ministers, voiced strong support for the
treaty and its protocols.
      "On the edge of the 21st century, it is unacceptable that human beings
around the world are bought and sold into situations, such as sexual
exploitation, domestic servitude and debt bondage, that are little
different from slavery," they said in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General
Kofi Annan.
      The 10 ministers, including U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright, came from El Salvador, Finland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg,
Madagascar, Mexico, Niger, South Africa and Sweden.

"(a) 'Trafficking in persons' shall mean the recruitment,
transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means
of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of
abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a
position of vulnerability [with footnote explanation] or of the
giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of
a person having control over another person, for the purpose of
exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the
exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual
exploitation [footnote 2], forced labour or services, slavery or
practices similar to slavery [with footnote on illegal adoptions],
servitude or the removal or organs [with footnote explanation];

Footnote (2): "The travaux preparatoires should indicate that this
Protocol addresses the exploitation of prostitution and other forms
of sexual exploitation only in the context of trafficking in persons.
The terms 'exploitation of the prostitution of other' or 'other forms
of sexual exploitation' are not defined in the Protocol. The
Protocol is therefore without prejudice to how States Parties address
prostitution in their respective domestic laws." (emphasis added)

"(b) The consent of a victim of trafficking in persons to the
intended exploitation set forth in subparagraph (a) shall be
irrelevant where any of the means set forth in subparagraph (a) are
established; [footnotes 4 and 5]"

Footnote (4): The travaux preparatoires should indicate that this
subparagraph should not be construed as imposing any restriction on
the right of accused persons to a full defense and to the presumption
of innocence

Footnote (5): "Paragraph b of this Article should not be interpreted
as laying upon the victim the burden of proof, as in any criminal
proceedings, it is incumbent upon the public prosecutor to prove the
elements of the offense in accordance with domestic law."
                        - for complete version go to <<

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