Comparative models of reporting mechanisms on the status of trafficking in human beings.

Author:Mattar, Mohamed Y.
 
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ABSTRACT

A comprehensive approach to combating trafficking in human beings requires precise knowledge of the scope of the problem and constant evaluation of government responses. Reporting on the status of human trafficking achieves both goals. This Article is designed to examine the various human trafficking reporting mechanisms, including reports that states are required to submit to the United Nations as well as national reports whereby governments engage in a process of self-assessment. Comparative models from Europe and the United States will be examined. The Article analyzes reports released by interministerial task forces as well as congressional hearings held on progress made and future steps that must be taken. This Article advocates establishing an independent and competent national rapporteur or a similar mechanism to assess government actions to combat the problem and recommend changes that should be implemented to reform existing frameworks. While reporting is an essential element of monitoring the status of human trafficking, it has not received adequate attention. This Article attempts to provide the first comprehensive study on the issue.

TABLE OF CONTENTS I. INTRODUCTION II. A CALL FOR A NATIONAL RAPPORTEUR A. The 1997 Hague Declaration: The Birth of the Concept of a National Rapporteur B. The OSCE Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings: A Commitment to Promoting the Concept of a National Rapporteur C. Reporting Mechanisms in the Council of Europe Convention on Action to Combat Trafficking in Human, Beings III. MODELS OF NATIONAL REPORTING A. The Role of an Interministerial Task Force in National Reporting: Data Collection and Information Gathering B. Situation Reports Providing for "Proposal of Measures" to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings: The Swedish Experience C. The Mandate of the National Rapporteur in the Netherlands: The Dutch Model for Reporting on Trafficking in Human Beings D. The Semestrial Progress Reports on the Fight Against Trafficking in Human Beings: The Romanian Approach E. Evaluating the National Strategy of the Fight Against Trafficking in Human Beings: The Czech Republic Approach F. Reporting on Trafficking in Human Beings in the United States: The Department of Justice Assessment of Government Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons G. Reporting on the Status of Severe Forms of Trafficking in Foreign Countries: The Role of the United States State Department Trafficking in Persons Report H. Congressional (Parliamentary) Hearings as a Means of Monitoring and Reporting on Trafficking in Human Beings: Examples from Canada and the United States IV. STATE REPORTS SUBMITTED TO THE UNITED NATIONS A. State Reports Submitted to the United Nations in Compliance with Article 18 of the CEDAW B. State Reports Submitted to the United Nations in Compliance with Article 44 of the CRC C. State Reports That May Be Submitted in Compliance with Article 32 of the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children D. A Call for Monitoring Measures to Combat Trafficking in Persons V. INTERNATIONAL REPORTING: A UNITED NATIONS SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR A. Appointing a Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons B. Specific Recommendations Made by the Special Rapporteur VI. MEASURING GOVERNMENT PROGRESS IN IMPLEMENTING THE "FIVE PS": PREVENTION, PROTECTION, PROVISION, PROSECUTION, AND PARTICIPATION A. Enhancing the Role of NGOs in Reporting on the Scope of the Problem of Trafficking in Persons and the Appropriate Government Responses B. Difficulties and Obstacles Facing a National Rapporteur in Reporting on the Status of Trafficking in Human Beings C. After Reporting: What Authority Does a National Rapporteur Have to Implement Reform and Change Policies? D. Research, Report, Review and Recommend: Incorporating the "Four Rs" in Defining the Role of a National Rapporteur in Monitoring the Status of Trafficking in Human Beings VII. CONCLUSION I. INTRODUCTION

The ultimate goal of monitoring and reporting on government policies and actions against trafficking in human beings (1) is to create an effective mechanism to ensure that government promises materialize into action and that corresponding legal and administrative provisions are implemented. A suitable mechanism is needed whereby this progress can be measured, but the critical question is what an adequate and effective mechanism might be. Various approaches have been adopted by a few countries. An analysis of the various models reveals that one approach might be to entrust the duty of reporting on trafficking in human beings to an interministerial task force or a ministerial member of such a task force. Another approach is to appoint a more independent body, such as an office of a national rapporteur. Reports may also be made by a congressional or parliamentary committee charged with oversight of the government's performance in combating trafficking in human beings.

In addition to these models of national reporting, international law requires states to submit reports to the United Nations pursuant to relevant international conventions and to note in these reports actions taken against trafficking in persons. These conventions include the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), (2) the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), (3) and the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (UN Protocol) (4) supplementing the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime. (5) Further, the United Nations itself appoints a special rapporteur (6) to report on the status of trafficking in human beings worldwide. The Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children has the power to investigate the scope of the problem, monitor and report on government actions, receive and inquire into complaints, and make recommendations for policy changed. (7)

The three main reporting mechanisms for monitoring and reporting on trafficking in human beings are: (1) national reporting (or self-assessment); (2) state reports submitted to international bodies; and (3) international reporting by an international body. The purpose of this Article is to examine these approaches to reporting and, by way of a critical analysis, identify inputs and analytical elements of an effective mechanism for monitoring and reporting on trafficking in human beings. Part II of this Article focuses on the call for a national rapporteur. Here, the Article introduces the origins and concept of a national rapporteur as a legitimate reporting mechanism on the issue of human trafficking, given that the Hague Declaration, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Action Plan, and the Council of Europe Convention all promote the implementation of such a mechanism. Part III looks into specific models of national reporting, particularly in the OSCE region. The popular interministerial task force is identified along with the victim-centered approach promulgated by the Swedish situation reports. The Dutch, Romanian, Czech, and U.S. examples follow before consideration of the congressional hearing mechanism used in Canada and the United States. Part IV deals with state reports submitted to the United Nations as mandated by a variety of international conventions, and Part V examines the office of the United Nations Special Rapporteur. Part VI analyzes the structure of the reports on the status of human trafficking. This Part addresses the "Five Ps"--prevention, protection, provision, prosecution, and participation--focusing on governments seeking to implement trafficking legislation, the role of outside organizations such as NGOs, the effectiveness of a special rapporteur after the reporting stage has been completed, and the rapporteur's role in the "Four Rs" of research, report, review, and recommend.

In conclusion, the Article reiterates the importance of monitoring and reporting on national governments' actions against trafficking in human beings, identifies best practices, points out shortcomings, and outlines a number of suggestions toward designing effective mechanisms for reporting on trafficking in human beings.

  1. A CALL FOR A NATIONAL RAPPORTEUR

    1. The 1997 Hague Declaration: The Birth of the Concept of a National Rapporteur

      On April 26, 1997, the presidency of the European Union convened a ministerial conference that established the Hague Ministerial Declaration on European Guidelines for Effective Measures to Prevent and Combat Trafficking in Women for the Purpose of Sexual Exploitation (Hague Declaration). (8) By recommending a set of actions to be taken regarding reporting on trafficking in human beings, the Hague Declaration established a new reporting mechanism: the office of National Rapporteur. (9)

      The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly similarly urged the governments of member states to "appoint a National Rapporteur on trafficking in human beings in each country affected by this problem." (10) The Recommendation specified that "the office of the rapporteur should elaborate and implement the national plan of action against trafficking taking into account the specificities of the situation in each country." (11) The Recommendation further urged the governments of member states to draw up annual reports to their parliaments on the situations in their countries and on their governments' activities designed to prevent trafficking in women (12) and to encourage national and international research into the problem of trafficking in women in order to better understand and fight this phenomenon. (13)

      The Recommendation went on to urge the governments of member states to create a European observatory on trafficking in human beings to (1) disseminate information and launch awareness-raising...

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