Trafficking and smuggling of human beings have increased significantly since the early 1990s, forcing the international community to develop new models to regulate them. Trafficking of human beings has attracted worldwide attention and provoked a considerable response. Smuggling of human beings also poses significant challenges, both to those smuggled and to the States affected.
Trafficking and smuggling may possess common features, which sometimes leads to confusion between them. Whereas smuggling involves the consent of the individual to participation in the process in the belief that he or she will be assisted to enter another State irregularly, trafficking denies the free will and choice of the individual because he or she is forced to move within a State, or between States, for the purpose of exploiting their labour. There is no real consent from the trafficked person. The individual may believe that he or she is being smuggled, when in reality he or she is being trafficked.
This chapter discusses the legal regimes for trafficking and smuggling and addresses salient legal issues, including the protection needs of victims and the tension arising from the fact that trafficking and smuggling are treated primarily as matters of criminal law, yet there is a clear human rights dimension in relation to the treatment of victims.