The International Bar Association (IBA) is committed to enhancing the rule of law. Since assuming the IBA presidency in 2015, I have sought to integrate that commitment into all of our work. To this end, among other projects, I launched the Judicial Integrity Initiative and continued the Presidential Task Force on Human Trafficking. In May 2016, the IBA published Judicial Systems and Corruption in partnership with the Basel Institution on Governance, and the Judicial Integrity Initiative has since pursued various projects designed to have a practical impact on judicial corruption. With this new report, the IBA’s Presidential Task Force on Human Trafficking has tackled two significant threats to the rule of law: human trafficking and public corruption.
Experts agree that human trafficking could not exist without corruption, but much of what we know about the intersection of corruption and trafficking is anecdotal. The Task Force therefore launched an extensive research project, identifying multiple corruption cases through press reports, case databases and court records. The Task Force analysed these case studies on trafficking and corruption, identifying patterns across the globe.
The Task Force’s methodology restricted the report only to those cases confirmed through criminal investigation or prosecution. However, the case study methodology had one unanticipated consequence: by focusing on cases in which the state prosecuted corrupt public officials, the data skewed towards those countries usually associated with a robust rule of law. In countries without the rule of law, corrupt officials enjoy complete impunity.
Two lessons may be drawn: first, all countries face the corruption–human trafficking nexus. No country is immune. Secondly, if we are to combat human trafficking, we must eliminate the corruption that makes these abuses both possible and profitable.
The case studies in this report make it clear that there is a great deal of work to be done. Corruption only exacerbates human trafficking’s tragic consequences. It is my hope that the recommendations in the report can be adopted to combat these twin scourges.
I would like to thank all of the officers of the Task Force, as well as The Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center and its staff, for their leadership in bringing this report to fruition.
David W Rivkin- President, International Bar Association
Read full report here.
Learn more about International Bar Association’s Presidential Task Force Against Human Trafficking here.