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Visit of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons,especially women and children to Japan,12-18 July 2009

Press Release 09-033-E 2009.07.16

Outline and Purpose of the visit:

The Special Rapporteur, Ms. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, will undertake a visit to Japan from 12-18 July 2009 to examine the human rights aspects of the victims of trafficking in persons, especially women and children in Japan. She will meet with governmental representatives, non-governmental organizations, and other members of civil society in Tokyo and Nagoya. The objective of the visit is to engage with these various actors and seek information on a variety of issues to address trafficking in persons, including legislation, statistical information, perceived root causes, as well as regional and international cooperation to combat human trafficking. She will also emphasize protection and assistance to victims of trafficking, including steps being taken by the government of Japan and partners towards rehabilitation, reintegration and redress violations suffered by victims.

Scope of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur:

The scope of the Special Rapporteur’s mandate covers all forms and manifestations of trafficking, including:
(1)Trafficking in children – children who are trafficked for sexual purposes, adoption, child labour (e.g. domestic work, babysitters/nannies, begging, criminal activities like selling drugs, etc.), and participation in armed conflict – mercenaries/child soldiers, sex slaves. The initial belief that only girl children were being trafficked for sexual purposes no longer holds true as the incidence of young boys being trafficked and sexually exploited through unsuspecting areas like sports is fast gaining ground;
(2)Trafficking in men for forced labour and other exploitation – not much attention has been paid to this form of trafficking but the reality is that it is also becoming rampant. Men and boys in particular are trafficked for labour exploitation in construction work, in agriculture, and also in fishing and mining;
(3)Trafficking in women and girls for forced marriage, forced prostitution, sexual exploitation and forced labour (including domestic work, working in factories and mines and other forms of labour) – understandably, much attention has been paid to sex trafficking and available data on trafficking in persons are mainly on this aspect. The Special Rapporteur will explore further trafficking of women for labour exploitation, especially in domestic work and other sectors;
(4)Trafficking in human beings for organs, human body parts and tissue – obtaining facts and figures on this form of trafficking is quite challenging, but it is becoming a growing trend with a ready market, and needs to be studied closely with a view to framing appropriate interventions;
(5)There are other forms that have been sporadically recorded, such as trafficking in persons for ritual purposes as well as trafficking of prisoners.

Trafficking in Human Beings – brief overview at the international level.

The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in persons, especially women and children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, defines “trafficking in persons” as:
“the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs;”
Over 117 countries have signed the Protocol. Japan has signed but not ratified the Palermo Protocol (December 2002).

In carrying out her mandate, the Special Rapporteur also refers to the Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights and Human Trafficking developed by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to provide practical, rights-based approach policy guidance on the prevention of trafficking and the protection of trafficked persons and with a view to facilitating the integration of a human rights perspective into national, regional, and international anti-trafficking laws, policies and interventions.
At the global level, UN.GIFT (UN Global Initiative to Fight Trafficking) was launched in March 2007 by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) with a grant made on behalf of the United Arab Emirates. (Please see http://www.ungift.org/ungift/index.html) It is managed in cooperation with the International Labour Organization (ILO); the International Organization for Migration (IOM); the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF); the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). UN.GIFT is based on the principle that this global problem requires a global, multi-stakeholder strategy that builds on national efforts throughout the world. Stakeholders must coordinate efforts already underway, increase knowledge and awareness, provide technical assistance; promote effective rights-based responses; build capacity of state and non-state stakeholders; foster partnerships for joint action; and above all, ensure that everybody takes responsibility for this fight. UN.GIFT works with all stakeholders – governments, business, academia, civil society and the media – to support each other’s work, create new partnerships and develop effective tools to fight human trafficking.
On 13 May 2009, the United Nations General Assembly held an Interactive Thematic Dialogue on “Taking Collective Action to End Human Trafficking,” at which the Special Rapporteur participated. (Please see: http://www.un.org/ga/president/63/interactive/humantrafficking.shtml)

Biography of the Special Rapporteur

Ms. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, a Nigerian national, assumed her functions as Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially in women and children on 1 August 2008. Ms. Ezeilo is a human rights lawyer and professor at the University of Nigeria. She has also served in various governmental capacities, including as Honourable Commissioner for Ministry of Women Affairs & Social Development in Enugu State and as a Delegate to the National Political Reform Conference. She has consulted for various international organizations and is also involved in several NGOs, particularly working on women’s rights. She has published extensively on a variety of topics, including human rights, women’s rights, and Sharia law.
The Special Rapporteur’s annual report to the Human Rights Council (presented in March 2009) can be found at http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/trafficking/docs/HRC-10-16.pdf.

For more information on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, please visit our website: Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially in women and children.
(Please see: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/trafficking/standards.htm)

The Special Rapporteur will present a report of the visit at a forthcoming session of the Human Rights Council at the beginning of 2010.

For more information, please contact Valentina Milano
Phone: +41 79 444 6129, e-mail: vmilano@ohchr.org

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights – Media Unit
Rupert Colville, Spokesperson: + 41 22 917 9767
Xabier Celaya, Information Officer: + 41 22 917 9383

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