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Human Trafficking and Exploitative Migration

Neo-liberal economic globalization has widened inequality which has led to an endless flow of people crossing national borders, in search of a better life or to escape various forms of oppression. They are often exposed to various forms of exploitation, both in the process of migration and in their destination countries. The most conspicuous form of exploitative migration is human trafficking, which is nowadays described as a “contemporary form of slavery” .

IMADR has promoted its advocacy to develop international standards for the protection of human rights of trafficked persons. IMADR has also worked with UN Special Rapporteurs on the relevant issues, such as trafficking in persons, violence against women and rights of migrants through providing various information from the ground level.


IMADR takes the following stands in addressing the problem:

Viewing trafficking as an indication of multiple discrimination against minorities
Human trafficking can be seen as a result of various forms of discrimination based on gender, poverty, racism, ethnic origin, nationality and so on, compiled and intertwined with one another. A considerable portion of trafficked persons, especially women and children, belong to a discriminated minority group which often prevents them from seeking effective remedies for the exploitation and human rights violations as a result of racial discrimination.

Bringing activists together
On the view of prostitution, there have been two different positions among activists: those who believe that “any prostitution is sexual exploitation and therefore a violation of women’s human rights”; and those who believe that “there should be a recognized right to sex work, and the issue of prostitution should be considered separately from the issue of human trafficking”. IMADR has made efforts to bring people from both sides together, so that they can cooperate towards the common goal of eliminating human trafficking.

Seeking solutions other than cracking down traffickers and tightening immigration control
As a countermeasure against trafficking in persons, many national governments have adopted policies to prosecute and punish traffickers or to tighten immigration control. While these measures could be seen as a step toward ending human trafficking,  it can only result in making human trafficking less visible and even aggravating the exploitation of undocumented migrants. We believe it is essential to address inequalities and discrimination towards the elimination of trafficking in persons.


What IMADR does on the issue:

Asia Committee (AC)

In cooperation with other regional NGOs, IMADR-AC has developed South Asian Safe Migration Policies and manuals for the care and protection of trafficked victims, and made educational materials in regard to the migration. It has also called for the creation of mechanism to monitor the full implementation of the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Women and Children for Prostitution


Latin America Base (LAB)

In cooperation with other NGOs and church groups, the LAB has conducted the fact-finding survey on trafficking in women in Argentine, and published a report in Spanish. It also regularly organizes workshops on the topic of trafficking jointly with church groups and women groups.



IMADR (former IMADR Japan Committee) has been a member of the Japan Network Against Trafficking in Persons (JNATIP) since its formation. JNATIP, together with IMADR-JC, regularly organizes a meeting with the Japanese Government to exchange ideas and information about the policies and programs to combat trafficking in Japan. Among others, it has urged the government to take concrete and effective steps to tackle human trafficking such as creating a hotline service in multiple languages, broadening conditions to recognize trafficked victims and creating a specialized desk to address the problem.


IMADR supports WOCON (Women’s Consortium of Nigeria) in their campaign against trafficking and exploitation of women and children.
Nigeria is a source country for women and children who are trafficked to Europe for the purposes of sexual exploitation, domestic work and child labor. Nigerian women comprise a large percentage of the African victims trafficked to Europe. Millions of Nigerian children who become victims of both internal and external trafficking for domestic work continue unaddressed.

WOCON’s mission is to cater for the welfare of women and children who are victims of violence and human trafficking. We believe that prevention and awareness-raising are the few of the most effective tools against gender-based violence. We conduct these tools through the use of workshops, media and various other public awareness initiatives.


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