Department of Government,
Lagos State University,
School of Basic and Advanced Studies, Lagos, Nigeria


Adebimpe Saheed FAGBEMI, PhD
Department of Criminology and Forensic Studies,
University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, Durban,
Republic of South Africa

It is submitted that one reason why it is difficult to promote a human rights framework in relation to trafficking is that a comprehensive analysis of the practice utilizing an application of the established human rights norms and principles has not been undertaken. As a result, many important questions remain unanswered, such as: What exactly are the human rights norms and principles applicable to trafficking? Does international human rights law establish and articulate obligations in relation to this practice? If so, what is their nature? What are the levels of obligations imposed upon State actors and non-State actors? Does the Trafficking Protocol have the potential to promote the human rights approach to the practice? This paper seeks to answer these questions in an attempt to establish a human rights framework, not only to understand, but also to address trafficking and the wider issues surrounding the practice. This paper focuses on the obligations and accountability of non-State actors. It begins by highlighting some human rights issues relevant to the causes, processes, and consequences of trafficking, such as poverty, discrimination, inhuman or degrading treatment, forced labor, and law enforcement practices. The paper then examines the obligations and accountability of non-State actors, such as organized criminal groups, under international human rights law. Although the duties of non-State actors are recognized in several international human rights instruments and widely supported by different actors, non-State actors do not have legal obligations under international human rights law. The importance of human rights norms and principles, however, is not to be underestimated as they may be enforceable indirectly. It will be shown that criminal and civil proceedings offer an alternative means by which the human rights norms and principles can be enforced at the national level, and therefore indirect application of human rights law is a viable option. At the international level, it is argued that trafficking can be regarded as a crime against humanity, and therefore the involvement of the International Criminal Court becomes a possibility. In conclusion, this paper stresses that accountability of non-State actors who abuse human rights during the process of trafficking can still be addressed at different levels.
Keywords: Human Beings, Trafficking, Migration, Human Rights, Non-State Actors, Smuggling.

Human trafficking occurs frequently in today’s world. Numerous victims of human trafficking, mostly women and children, are said to number in the thousands each year. Nearly all States are impacted by trafficking, and it is estimated that traffickers make billions of dollars annually in unlawful profits as a result of their activities.

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