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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

More on Human Trafficking: An Update from the NCIL Violence & Abuse Task Force

As the world evolves toward a “global” community, human trafficking is becoming a lucrative and fast-growing crime. The Internet has become a tool of the traffickers, and often people are lured into slavery with innocent looking job posts. Women and children are among the most vulnerable and become the principle victims of traffickers who coerce their services, usually in the sex industries. Also, forced labor and slavery in any capacity is a common fate for trafficked individuals. Victims may just as easily include men, and people with disabilities; especially children with disabilities.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that there are 2.4 billion people in the world at any given time involved in forced labor and subjected to exploitation as a result of human trafficking. The definition of “Human Trafficking” given by the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime states “trafficking in persons means the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons either by threat, or use of abduction, force, fraud, deception or coercion, or by the giving or receiving of unlawful payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person for the purpose of exploitation” (Martin & Miller 2000).

We must use every method at our disposal to work against human trafficking. One often overlooked method that other countries are using is the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). There are several articles in the CRPD that apply to Human Trafficking: Article 14 (Liberty and Security of person), Article15 (Freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment/punishment). But the most effective would be Article 16 (Freedom from exploitation, violence, and abuse).

It may seem that the CRPD is just a small tool in this fight; but it is a global tool to fight a global problem. It is NCIL’s hope that the United States will eventually ratify CRPD. In the meantime, it is important to be educated about issues related to human trafficking and its effects on people with disabilities. Even as this article goes to press, the Congress is in review and debate about the “Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015”. We encourage our membership to stay abreast of these discussions.

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