Updated: Oct 7, 2020
On September 23, 1999, during the World Coalition Conference against Trafficking in Women, the date was chosen to symbolize the International Day against sexual exploitation and trafficking in women and children, also inspired by the fact that on the same day and month, in the year 1913, the Palaces Act was enacted in Argentina to punish the promotion and facilitation of child prostitution and corruption which influenced several countries to create their protective norms.
Despite being a practice that has long been present in human relations, human trafficking and sexual exploitation, especially of women and girls, only came to have an international normative mobilization, through the global human rights system (UN - United Nations) , in the 2000s. The main document that regulates this fight is the Additional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime Relating to the Prevention, Repression and Punishment of Trafficking of People, Especially Women and Children.
In Brazil, such international legislation was incorporated into the national legal system in 2004 and since then it has resulted in other regulations for effective prevention and protection.
Both in international and national legislation, trafficking of people can be understood as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, accommodation or reception of people, resorting to the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of authority or situation of vulnerability or the delivery or acceptance of payments or benefits to obtain the consent of a person who has authority over another for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation will include, at a minimum, exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs. National law emphasizes that the consent given by the victim is irrelevant to the configuration of human trafficking.
It is noticed that the existence of an international movement to face the trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and children triggers the need for a structure, in the countries that adhered to the Protocol, to prevent, punish and eradicate these conducts, leading to the need to elaborate National Coping Plans, which guide the guidelines and goals established by the government in line with the international community.
Another reflex observed was the more severe classification of conduct as a crime, in 2016, and article 149-A, of the Brazilian Penal Code, provides for trafficking of people who “agency, entice, recruit, transport, transfer, buy, house or welcome a person, through serious threat, violence, coercion, fraud or abuse, for the purpose of removal organs, tissues, body parts, slave-like work, illegal adoption, sexual exploitation. It is stipulated as a cause of increased sentence if the crime is committed against a child, adolescent, elderly person or with a disability.
It is observed that the articulation to face the trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and children is recent and is leading to the mobilization of countries for internal structuring and international cooperation, so that they are effective actions. And, although it is recent, in legal terms, the results are being evaluated, analyzing which points should be improved.
According to the UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) report, which reinforces the importance of collecting data on such conduct, it is pointed out that in 2009 only 26 countries had institutions for the collection and dissemination of data on trafficking of people, already in 2018, this number rose to 65 countries.
The report also says that the vast majority of victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation are female. This is also reflected when analyzing specific data from Latin America.
Trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and girls is a cruel reality that cannot be ignored. The warning that September 23rd brings must be carried out in a constant vigil, so that women and girls do not have their dignity and self-determination usurped so atrociously.
Feminist lawyer active in the area of family law and defense of women’s right.
Librarian, English Teacher and Feminist master student with project in favor of the end of violence against women.