Sex Trafficking: A Public Health Hazard at its Best!


September 22 | 10:15-11:15 AM | Room 3010A

The right to adequate health and the wellbeing of humans is undoubtedly a universally recognized right in the human rights discourse. For centuries, international human rights instruments, including landmark declarations such as the UDHR, treaties, and standards, have since embraced “health” as a human right. However, there are significant variations in how health policies and laws are being implemented by member States. These cause a variance in the type of services and care provided by different states. Furthermore, sexual and reproductive health rights are becoming recognized as part of the right to health in several countries, including South Africa as stated in section 27 of the 1996 constitution. When addressing the horrors of human trafficking, focus is often on prosecution of perpetrators, which States view as one of the pillars of tackling the trafficking problem. Although this effort is commendable, it creates a narrow perspective, which may result in a non-existent discussion on some significant human rights violations that may also arise as a result of human trafficking. Central to this is the right to health which includes the sexual and reproductive health rights of the victim or survivor, particularly where the trafficking activity is for sexual exploitation. State and international responses to the trafficking of persons must take into consideration the health of women, especially their sexual and reproductive health needs at all stages of trafficking.

Presentation Objectives:

·       Discuss what is included in human rights and how this relates to the rights of trafficking victims and survivors

·       Explain how human trafficking, particularly sex trafficking, is a public health hazard

·       Discuss the health implications of sex-trafficking for women

About the Presenter