The sale and trafficking of children for sexual purposes represent some of the worst violations of children’s rights. Children living in poverty, in conflict zones, migrating or in other vulnerable situations are at a particularly high risk of being victimised. Yet, vulnerability factors vary, so any child in any situation can fall victim to being trafficked or sold for sexual purposes.1 ‘Human trafficking’ is defined by the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (here within Trafficking Protocol).2
Signatories to the Trafficking
Protocol commit to reflect its provisions in national legislation, and many have adopted definitions along these lines in their legislation since its adoption in 2000. Trafficking in persons is primarily understood to be comprised of three distinct elements: the ‘act’, the ‘means’ and the ‘purpose’.3 The ‘act’ is defined as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons.” The ‘means’ is defined as the “threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or a position of vulnerability or of the giving and receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.”4 The ‘purpose’ of exploitation is loosely defined as including, at a minimum “the exploitation of prostitution or forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”5
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