Episode 13: The 20th birthday of the UN protocols on trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants - cause for celebration?


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By Loksan Harley. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Hello and thanks for joining me your host, Loksan Harley, for another episode of the Migration & Diaspora Podcast. I'm very lucky to be joined today by Dr Marika McAdam to discuss a special birthday that is taking place this year: the 20th birthday of the three Palermo protocols to address trafficking in persons, the smuggling of migrants and the trafficking of firearms. This certainly is not your usual birthday celebration!

For those who are less familiar with these topics, these three protocols were developed to supplement the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC). They provided the first international definitions for trafficking and smuggling, and they have been instrumental in bringing about greater awareness and action to address these crimes and protect victims of trafficking. The definitions of trafficking and smuggling are somewhat complex - which is just one of the issues we touch on during today's episode - but to give you a brief summary, trafficking was broadly defined by the protocol as the acquisition of people by improper means such as force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them; and smuggling, in my words, is facilitating the illegal entry of a person into another country in exchange for money or material benefit.

So a bit about Dr Marika McAdam. Marika is an independent legal consultant, scholar and adviser who has worked with UNODC, IOM, OHCHR, Chatham House, and the NEXUS Institute, among others. She is currently serving as international law and policy adviser for both the ASEAN-Australia Counter-Trafficking, and the Bali Process Regional Support Office on people smuggling, trafficking in persons and related transnational crime. In her work to counter trafficking, she has developed and delivered training to law enforcement officers, prosecutors and judges; advised parliamentarians; and contributed to UN expert groups. She has also carried out counter-trafficking legislative assessments in Southeast Asia, the South Caucasus and the Horn of Africa. She has a PhD in international human rights law and has published a book, entitled Freedom from Religion and Human Rights Law (see link below).

I thoroughly enjoyed speaking with Marika, who has so much experience on this topic, about the achievements and shortcomings of the Palermo protocols. We touch on some of the challenges inherent in how the protocols define trafficking and smuggling, why the trafficking protocol is getting more attention than the smuggling and firearms protocols, the oft-forgotten link between the UNTOC and the protocols, the ways in which (and reasons why) the definition of trafficking has expanded over the years, and the implications of the increasing focus on "modern slavery". I highly recommend paying close attention to this one, as our conversation certainly changed the way I think about human trafficking - especially how it relates to practices like forced marriage and forced military recruitment, which are often considered trafficking but which typically do not involve the types of transnational organised crime that the UNTOC sought to address. You might also want to head to loksanharley.com/podcast to check out episodes 3 and 11, which are also about human trafficking in case this episode leaves you wanting more.

This is our last episode of the year, so a very Merry Christmas and a happy new year in advance!

Anyway, without further ado, thank you very much for listening and I hope you enjoy the show.

Useful links

Follow Marika: https://twitter.com/Marika_McAdam

Check out Marika's book - Freedom from Religion and Human Rights Law: Strengthening the Right to Freedom of Religion and Belief for Non-Religious and Atheist Rights-Holders: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Freedom-Religion-Human-Rights-Rights-Holders-ebook/dp/B077G2ZZPT

37 episodes