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General comments and recommendations

General recommendation No.38 (2020) on trafficking in women and girls in the context of global migration


20 November 2020

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Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women


This general recommendation contextualizes the implementation of the obligations of States parties to combat all forms of trafficking, as stipulated in article 6 of the Convention, in the context of global migration. Pathways of trafficking in persons often align with mixed migration flows. The Committee highlights the particular vulnerability of smuggled women and girls to being trafficked and underlines the conditions created by restrictive migration and asylum regimes that push migrants towards irregular pathways.

In the present general recommendation, the Committee affirms that it is a priority duty of States, both individually and collectively, to prevent women and girls from exposure to the risk of being trafficked. States are also obliged to discourage the demand that fosters exploitation and leads to trafficking. It has set out practical guidance on implementing anti-trafficking interventions that are based on an approach incorporating a gender and intersectional perspective, with the focus placed on realizing the human rights of women and girls as a strategic priority for achieving sustainable development.

It recalls the obligations of States parties under international law, including the jurisprudence of the Committee, to identify, assist and protect survivors of trafficking, to prevent their revictimization and to ensure their access to justice and the punishment of perpetrators.