By Marc Beuttler

In a presentation to the UN Human Rights Council, the outgoing UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, highlighted the lack of adequate knowledge of human trafficking for removal of organs. Human trafficking is a vast and dirty industry that generates more than $51 billion dollars annually. This large profit is perhaps due to the increased scope of trafficking in women, men, boys and girls, who are trafficked for third party profit and taken advantage for personal gain. Women and girls remain the most vulnerable to the human trafficking problem, but men and boys are also victims, with many selling their organs for money for their family, and never receiving their fair share of the profit. These victims are powerless and voiceless to denounce such violations, and Ms. Ezelio urges that it is the state’s international legal obligation to prevent this type of human rights violation. She also called on states to actively address other forms of human trafficking in addition to organ removal: forced labor, servile marriage, and criminal activities among them. Ms. Ezelio’s report reviews 10 years of anti-trafficking work, highlighting many accomplishments as well as many challenges that remain. One of the most fundamental challenges is the need to “clarify the international legal definition of trafficking in persons” in order to strengthen the accountability of non-state actors. The Special Rapporteur called on governments worldwide to broaden their focus on the problem of human trafficking, specifically in regards to the exploitation of persons for the removal of organs.

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