As recently as ten years ago, the term"human trafficking" was rarely referred to in debates about migration policy. Today, however, it is one of the major concerns of both governments and organizations active in the migration field and has become a priority for those working in many other policy areas such as human rights, health, gender, law enforcement, and social services.
The organization of the largest ever EU conference on"Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings," held in Brussels from 18-20 September 2002, is an example of the growing political priority being accorded to combating human trafficking. The conference, organized by International Organization for Migration (IOM) on behalf of the EU, brought together over 1,000 representatives of European institutions, EU Member States, candidate countries, and relevant third world countries, drawn from governments, international organizations, and NGOs. The conference produced"The Brussels Declaration," which outlines a set of policy recommendations for the EU in the area of human trafficking.
In the United States also, trafficking has been high on the political agenda. In October 2001, the State Department created the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, and in June 2002, it published a second report assessing the efforts made by 89 countries to combat trafficking in persons. This report is the most comprehensive anti-trafficking review to be issued by any single government.