United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

UNODC has a general mandate to address transnational organized crime. The Protocol on Human Trafficking, which supplements the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), provides the legal and conceptual framework for UNODC's work in the area of human trafficking.

It focuses on the criminal justice system response to human trafficking, but includes provisions on victim protection and preventive measures. UNODC, as the secretariat of the Conference of the Parties to UNTOC and its protocols, is required to ensure the necessary coordination with the secretariats of relevant international and regional organizations.

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UNODC Human Trafficking Case Law Database

More than a decade after the adoption of the Trafficking in Persons Protocol, most countries have criminalized most forms of human trafficking in their legislation. However, the use of these laws to prosecute and convict traffickers remains limited. In the 2009 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, for instance, two out of every five countries covered in the report had never recorded a single conviction for trafficking offences.

An added issue behind the legal aspects of human trafficking is a lack of knowledge and understanding on the global stage. In those cases where prosecutions have been undertaken, very little is currently known about them internationally. This often leaves questions open such as how do practitioners use the respective laws and what - if any - are the characteristics of successful prosecutions?

In a bid to answer these questions, UNODC has developed a human trafficking case law database to provide immediate, public access to officially documented instances of this crime. The database contains details on victims' and perpetrators' nationalities, trafficking routes, verdicts and other information related to prosecuted cases from across the world. In doing so, it provides not only mere statistics on numbers of prosecutions and convictions, but also the real-life stories of trafficked persons as documented by the courts. The database aims to assist judges, prosecutors, policy-makers, media researchers and other interested parties by making available details of real cases with examples of how the respective national laws in place can be used to prosecute human trafficking. At its launch, more than 200 selected cases from over 30 countries and two regional courts have been uploaded, with an additional 100 cases from over a dozen states to be added in the coming months.

By creating the database, UNODC is working to increase the visibility of successful prosecutions and at the same time promote awareness of the realities of this devastating crime. Such a database of human trafficking cases enables users to take experiences and court decisions from other countries into account when dealing with human trafficking issues, consult on practices in different jurisdictions and broaden their knowledge of human trafficking crimes.

Click here to search the UNODC Case Law Database.

The Blue Heart Campaign: an international campaign against a modern form of slavery

Human trafficking is a crime that strips people of their rights, ruins their dreams, and robs them of their dignity. It is a crime that shames us all. Human trafficking is a global problem and no country is immune. Millions of victims are entrapped and exploited every year in this modern form of slavery. To rally world public opinion against human trafficking, UNODC has launched the Blue Heart Campaign. It is open to all those who want to participate and wear the Blue Heart as a symbol of their support for this campaign.

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