An analysis of the protection regime for trafficked persons - from the international to Vietnam
thesisposted on 2019-02-20, 21:29 authored by Hoang, Thi Tue Phuong
While the magnitude of human trafficking activities is increasing all over the world, the establishment of the Palermo Trafficking Protocol in 2000 is seen as a breakthrough amongst international legal responses to human trafficking. The Protocol introduces for the first time an internationally agreed definition of ‘trafficking in persons’ and a set of measures for dealing with human trafficking. The hypothesis of this dissertation is that even though the Trafficking Protocol imposes obligations on states to take responsibility for the protection of trafficked persons, they are not enough to guarantee even an efficient, let alone effective protection regime for trafficked persons. This thesis, accordingly, investigates the background and theoretical framework of legal responses to human trafficking, in order to evaluate current responses to trafficking, including protection of and assistance to trafficked persons. This investigation of the international protection regime will provide the background for an assessment of the protection regime applicable to trafficked persons under the Vietnamese legal framework later on in this thesis. The findings of this analysis could also be used as the basis for future research and direction under the international anti-trafficking legal framework. This thesis will also argue that there are problems with the way that Vietnam (as the country under investigation in this research) has responded to the international regime. Vietnam’s anti-trafficking ‘landscape’ can be understood in terms of several key factors: a prevailing conceptualisation of trafficking as a ‘social evil’, and as a phenomenon focused mainly on trafficking in women and children for prostitution (which is an illegal industry in Vietnam); and the official practices of exploiting and restricting labour migration at the same time, whilst not recognising the close relationship between (restricted) labour migration and trafficking. This thesis argues that there are gaps between the Vietnamese response, especially with its anti-trafficking law that looks good ‘on paper’, and the requirements of international standards, especially with regard to implementing anti-trafficking practices concerned with protecting and assisting trafficking victims. The thesis will also point out that, importantly, a regime of protection and assistance to trafficked persons which adequately responds to their protection needs creates a big challenge to Vietnamese policy makers in terms of re-conceptualising human beings (and, in this thesis’s context, of trafficked persons and migrant workers) as bearers of human rights instead of tools of the legal system, as is currently the case. This thesis will be useful in terms of its general review of the anti-trafficking framework, in promoting better anti-trafficking practice in Vietnam, and in particular in reviewing its protection regime for trafficked persons. Moreover, this thesis will also be expected to be a useful reference source for amendments to national anti-trafficking legislation as well as for future research on human trafficking and/or on the issue of the protection for trafficked persons in Vietnam.