The vulnerable become victims of traffickers. Once trafficked, the victims are even more vulnerable as they have often been stripped of their documentation, faced with threats to their person, and too often humiliated by law enforcement agencies when they are classified ''criminals'' or ''violators'' of migration laws. As "illegal immigrants", trafficking victims are detained or deported. In some cases, officials collaborate with international or national criminal organizations.
The UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons (2000) specifically calls upon nations to address protection of the human rights of victims and to provide measures for the physical, psychological, and social recovery of victims of trafficking. It is important to protect the privacy and identity of individuals freed from traffickers especially during and following prosecution of their traffickers. Victims also require appropriate housing, counseling, medical and material assistance, and employment training and opportunities to facilitate transition and reintegration.
Governments that are determined to crack down on trafficking organizations have to win the confidence of the victims, who are often the best informants as to the details of trafficking operations. Protecting the identity of victims and providing for their safety are crucial to effective prosecution of traffickers. Laws and procedures that protect victims will encourage them to come forward and testify against traffickers and their organizations.
Protection is also an important part of the process of rehabilitation and reintegration of the victim. There is a need to support the work of both national and international non-governmental organizations that are working to provide shelters and rehabilitation services for victims of trafficking. Governmental agencies alone cannot fill the protection needs of all trafficked persons. The NGOs are especially important to support the rescued victim who is transported back to her home country for rehabilitation and reintegration.
The South Korean Ministry of Justice has put in place various measures to protect trafficking victims, including shelters and self-support centers. The government has also enacted the NGO Assistance Law and has provided various kinds of assistance, including financial support for NGOs. It is also offering legal aid to trafficking victims. In 2001, the Government spent a total of 4.9 billion won (US$4.0 million) on direct assistance to victims, shelters, counseling centers, and hot lines.
The U.S. Department of State has created a shelter best practices fact sheet. Click here to access the fact sheet.
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