An inherent tension underlies the duty to prevent trafficking. On the one hand, nation-states are required to take border control measures aimed at preventing trafficking. At the same time, such measures must respect international obligations toward asylum-seekers and other migrants relating to the free movement of people. In the past twenty years, countries such as the United States have developed increasingly sophisticated systems designed to regulate and restrict the movement of people across borders. However, the same period has seen an increasing disregard for the human rights of the very people who are crossing those borders. In order to fully meet the duty to prevent trafficking, states must come to recognize the importance of involving victims of this crime in the solution, which will never happen if countries demonize all migrants as criminals and traffickers. In short, states that seek to lead the fight against human trafficking need to work with victims (including foreign national victims in the state’s territory) and other partners (such as non-governmental organizations and victims’ attorneys) to ensure that their rhetoric more closely matches reality.
Rebecca L. Feldmann, Preventing Trafficking by Protecting Refugees, 2023 ULR 659 (2023). DOI: https:do.org/10.26054/0d-2m7h-x542