Collateral Damage: The Impact of Anti-Trafficking Measures on Human Rights Around the World

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, anti-trafficking measures "shall not adversely affect the human rights and dignity of persons, in particular the rights of those who have been trafficked and of migrants, internally displaced persons, refugees and asylum seekers." However, human rights defenders have become more and more concerned that many strategies designed to fight trafficking have proven counterproductive for the very people they were intended to benefit.

The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) has thus commissioned a research project exploring the "collateral damage" that anti-trafficking measures have had on trafficked persons, as well as on those at risk of being trafficked, in eight countries across six continents. The conclusions point to loopholes in the global anti-trafficking framework and call for urgent improvements to ensure that trafficked persons do not become "victims of anti-trafficking." The recommendations are directed at governments, policy makers, law enforcement officials, labor and human rights defenders, human rights bodies and institutions as well as at NGOs at national, regional, and international levels. The report is a thoughtful reminder that the rights and interests of affected people need to be at the center of any policy and practice intended to improve their human rights.