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This report describes the programs of 18 countries and the European Union involving combating human trafficking, with a special focus on the training of personnel.   Each survey provides a brief introduction to the jurisdiction’s legal framework on human trafficking, describes the roles and responsibilities of particular government agencies in enforcing laws against human trafficking, and provides a description of training programs or initiatives that are conducted by and provided to government personnel.  A majority of the surveyed countries have laws specifically targeting the problem of human trafficking and almost all the surveyed countries are parties to relevant international instruments addressing human trafficking.

An introduction and a bibliography on recent resources on international and comparative treatments of human trafficking are also provided.


Argentina is a party to the major international agreements on human trafficking and has enacted comprehensive legislation at the domestic level as well.  The Ministry of Justice and Human Rights is the authority in charge of the coordination of all agencies and institutions involved in human trafficking issues.  There is a special unit on the Office of the National Prosecutor on Human Trafficking and Kidnappings that assists in the prosecution of the crime throughout the country. 

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The Brazilian Constitution provides several principles for the protection of human rights. Many federal laws can be used to combat human trafficking, including the Penal Code, the Alien’s Statute, and the Child and Adolescent Statute.  A decree enacted in 2006 approved a national policy to establish principles, guidelines, and actions to prevent and suppress human trafficking and provide assistance to victims, and also created the First National Plan to Combat Human Trafficking.  This plan, covering the period of 2008–2010, established the priorities of the national policy, which included setting short-, medium-, and long-term goals, and defining the bodies and entities partnering to achieve these goals.

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In Canada, the legal framework related to combatting human trafficking consists primarily of provisions in the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Public Safety Canada leads a Human Trafficking Taskforce, made up of ten federal departments, that is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the commitments made under the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, coordinating the federal anti-human-trafficking response, and reporting to the public annually on progress.

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Article 240 of China’s Criminal Law prohibits abducting and trafficking women or children and provides harsher punishments if forced prostitution is involved. The Criminal Law also prohibits buying abducted women or children, forced labor, forced prostitution, and luring girls under fourteen into prostitution. The national anti-trafficking action plan requires training programs on anti-trafficking laws, regulations, and policies to be provided to anti-trafficking personnel at various levels nationwide, in order to enhance their abilities with regard to anti-trafficking law enforcement.

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There are three legal instruments in Egypt that prohibit human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation and forced labor. In July 2007, the National Coordinating Committee on Preventing and Combating Human Trafficking was established. Government officials, including members of law enforcement agencies, have received a series of training courses on combating human trafficking. Those training programs are delivered by experts appointed by the National Coordinating Committee on Preventing and Combating Human Trafficking, which has also coordinated with international organizations.

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England and Wales

England and Wales is taking a robust approach to tackle human trafficking. It introduced the Modern Slavery Act in 2015 to consolidate provisions relating to human trafficking, forced labor, and sexual exploitation, and significantly increased the penalties for these offenses, as well as providing police with a way to seize the proceeds of these crimes and provide reparations to the victims. A national referral mechanism is in place to put potential victims in contact with one of two agencies that are specialized in dealing with these types of crime.

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European Union

Under European Union legislation, trafficking of human beings constitutes a human rights violation and is prohibited. EU Member States play a critical role in the identification, prevention, and protection of victims of trafficking and the prosecution of perpetrators. Under European Court of Human Rights case law, states of the Council of Europe have a positive obligation to put in place an effective legal framework against human trafficking and take protective measures. Training of officials who come into contact with victims of trafficking is legally required and is an indispensable tool in ensuring that such officials are better able to identify victims of trafficking.

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France is bound by international agreements and European Union directives to fight human trafficking. At the national level, human trafficking is defined and prohibited by the Penal Code, and the different elements of the definition of human trafficking are individually prohibited by the Penal Code as well. Additionally, some instances of human trafficking may fall under immigration or labor laws. Documents published by the French government highlight the importance of implementing training programs to help identify and protect victims of human trafficking.

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Legislation in Germany criminalizes human trafficking for sexual and labor exploitation and implements the requirements of the European Union directives in human trafficking. Several government agencies, law enforcement, judges, prosecutors, and NGOs are involved in combating human trafficking and in offering specialized trainings and publishing guidelines.

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Israel seeks to address the problem of human trafficking by coordinating the efforts of a number of government agencies and private organizations. In 2006 it established the Office of the National Anti-Trafficking Coordinator (ONATC) in the Ministry of Justice. The ONATC currently chairs an interministerial committee to study women and children involved in prostitution in Israel. In 2014, the ONATC formed a working group with various ministries and a nongovernmental organization to address the problem of child prostitution.

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Italy is bound by a number of international treaties and other instruments covering human trafficking and smuggling. Due to its geographical location, Italy is a point of convergence between the European continent and other regions from which intense human trafficking takes place. Italy has enacted domestic legislation prohibiting the exploitation of human beings in its different modalities, including prostitution and other forms of abuse of persons in situations of vulnerability.

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While Japan has not adopted the UN Convention and Protocols related to combatting human trafficking, all acts that fall within the definitions provided in the UN Trafficking in Persons Protocol are criminal offenses under its domestic law. Law enforcement agencies in Japan provide classes and courses regarding trafficking in persons for their employees. They also regularly cooperate with nongovernmental organizations.

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Jordan has enacted Law No. 9 of 2009 on the Prevention of Human Trafficking. Articles 4, 5, and 16 allow the Council of Ministers and the National Committee on Preventing Human Trafficking to decide on how best to implement the Law. No legislative or administrative instruments addressing the roles and responsibilities of the various government agencies in this respect were located. However, various officials have attended training related to combating human trafficking.

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Malaysia has enacted specific legislation related to trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, which was most recently amended in 2015. Enforcement officers receive training in investigating and handling human trafficking cases. Special prosecutors have also been appointed and have received training in victim-centered approaches to trafficking cases. The training programs have included regional programs and cooperative efforts with international organizations, particularly the International Organization for Migration.

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Mexico’s General Law to Prevent, Punish and Eradicate Crimes of Human Trafficking is the main statute on this topic, as it provides guidelines on the powers of authorities at the federal, state, and local level in charge of combatting human trafficking. This Law also provides for the existence of the national Commission to Prevent, Punish and Eradicate Crimes of Human Trafficking, which has broad powers to define, implement, and oversee public policies to address this issue and to design relevant training programs for federal and state authorities. In addition, Mexico has received anti-human-trafficking training from the United States government, according to a June 2014 press release from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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A number of Dutch laws address the issue of human trafficking, including the Penal Code, the Alien’s Statute, and the Child and Adolescent Statute. The Netherlands must also abide by the relevant European Union and Council of Europe directives on combatting human trafficking and is a party to the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols. The Criminal Code, the major law against human trafficking, has an extensive list of trafficking-related crimes, and in 2013 the punishments for these offenses were increased.

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South Africa

South Africa enacted a comprehensive legal framework to prevent and combat human trafficking in 2013 and began implementing it in late 2015. The legal framework includes a broad definition of trafficking and sets out various trafficking-related offenses that are subject to harsh penalties. It also gives victims access to a number of services and programs. In addition, it encourages witnesses to trafficking offenses to cooperate with law enforcement by according them certain protections.

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Swedish law criminalizes human trafficking as well as preparation for or attempted human trafficking. Aliens who are victims of human trafficking in Sweden receive temporary residence permits for reflection and/or stabilization periods. The County Administrative Board for Stockholm is responsible for the national coordination of efforts against human trafficking. Tailored courses in human trafficking for police personnel are provided by both universities and private corporations.

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Ukraine is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking, and human trafficking remains an acute problem in the country. The problem is addressed in numerous laws and implementing regulations. Human trafficking is a crime prosecuted under the Criminal Code, and the National Police together with the State Border Guard Service are the two major law enforcement agencies involved in investigating and prosecuting this crime.

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Last Updated: 12/30/2020