Definition of human trafficking

For the first time, in the year 2000, the Palermo Protocol, the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, included the first internationally consensual definition of trafficking in persons, thus establishing the commonly accepted legal framework. Spain signed and ratified the Protocol, which then entered into effect on December 25, 2003.

Trafficking-in-persons is defined as the recruitment, transfer, transportation, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of violence, threat, deception, abduction, the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or other elements of coercion for the purpose of subjecting the person to exploitation and to make a profit from such activity.

Trafficking–in-persons is a human rights violation that manifests itself today as a serious international problem. Human trafficking occurs in the context of the current migratory movements. It takes place in every region of the world and many countries are affected, either as countries of origin, of transit or of destination. It is also the third most lucrative illegal business after the trafficking of drugs or arms.

Article 3, Palermo Protocol

a) “Human trafficking” is defined as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring 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 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. This exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs;

b) The consent of a victim of trafficking in persons to the intended exploitation set forth [above] shall be irrelevant where any of the means set forth [above] have been used;

c) The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation shall be considered “trafficking in persons” even if this does not involve any of the means set forth in subparagraph (a) of this article.