Human Trafficking

In the Shadows of the Law
  • Citation: Ne, Foo Yen. “Human Trafficking: In the Shadows of the Law.” S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, 2018.
    • Topics:
    • Human Rights
    • Keywords:
    • Asia
    • East Asia
    • labor
    • forced labor
    • slavery
    • modern slavery
    • law enforcement
    • international law
    • antitrafficking
    • organized crime

Almost two decades since the adoption of the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime, and specifically the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, the debates on addressing human trafficking have not veered far beyond questions of law enforcement efficacy. What makes law enforcement against human trafficking so challenging in the East Asia region? This NTS Insight examines the nature of international legal frameworks that address human trafficking and the way they influence regional and domestic antitrafficking legislation in East Asia. It argues that human trafficking as a crime is often “hidden” from the one-size-fits-all anti-trafficking legal regime adopted in domestic or national settings. The report argues that drawing the crime of human trafficking out of the shadows is made difficult by (i) the ambiguous definition of human trafficking in international law; (ii) the disjuncture between human trafficking contexts in East Asia and what international anti-trafficking legal regimes seek to address.