The recent interception by the Italian Navy of two ships filled with refugees from Syria and other countries has dramatically highlighted the ever-growing trade in persons.
11 January has been designated by the UN General Assembly as a day to develop awareness of human trafficking. Awareness has been growing, but effective remedies are slow and uncoordinated. These remedies often are not accessible to victims of trafficking due to gaps between setting international standards, enacting national laws, and then implementing them in a humane way.
The international standards have been set out in the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. The Convention and the Protocol standards are strengthened by the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. The worldwide standards have been reaffirmed by regional legal frameworks such as the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.
Despite clear international and regional standards, many countries have poor implementation due to limited government resources and infrastructure, a tendency to criminalize victims, and restrictive immigration policies.