International laws embodied within international conventions and treaties provide the legal framework for relations between States, as well as the treatment by States of individuals within their borders. Many States have recognized the need to foster and enhance close international cooperation in order to tackle transnational organized crime and trafficking in persons.
The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (hereafter the TOC Convention), adopted by General Assembly resolution 55/25 of 15 November 2000, is the main international instrument in the fight against transnational organized crime. Afghanistan signed and subsequently ratified the TOC Convention on 23 September 2003. States that ratify this instrument commit themselves to taking a series of measures against transnational organized crime including: the creation of domestic criminal offences (participation in an organized criminal group, moneylaundering, corruption and obstruction of justice); the adoption of new and sweeping frameworks for extradition, mutual legal assistance and law enforcement cooperation, and the promotion of training and technical assistance for building or upgrading the necessary capacity of national authorities.
The TOC Convention is further supplemented by three Protocols one of which is the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (hereafter the Trafficking Protocol), adopted by General Assembly resolution 55/25. The development of the Trafficking Protocol marked a significant milestone in international efforts to stop trafficking in persons. Today, 118 States are party to the Trafficking Protocol. It is the first global legally binding instrument with an agreed upon definition of trafficking in persons. The intention behind this definition is to facilitate convergence in national approaches with regard to the establishment of domestic criminal offences that would support efficient international cooperation in investigating and prosecuting trafficking in persons cases. Additionally, the Trafficking Protocol aims to protect and assist the victims of trafficking in persons with full respect for their human rights.
Trafficking in persons is a multifaceted crime that generates many issues for consideration when addressing and implementing an effective response to trafficking in persons. In accordance with the Trafficking Protocol, trafficking in persons is a human rights violation constituting a crime against both the individual and the State, carrying with it important implications for the legislative approach to be taken in the recognition and punishment of the crime. This means that the implementation of interventions and actions, whether as part of prevention, prosecution or protection efforts, must seek to care for and protect individual humans, rather than solely being concerned with security of the state.