Trafficking in Persons for Ransom and the Need to Expand the Interpretation of Article 3 of the UN Trafficking Protocol


  • Mogos O Brhane Ministry of Justice, Eritrea



Ransom, Trafficking, Trafficking Protocol, Torture, Exploitation, forced begging, debt bondage, Eritreans, migration, kidnapping


As the nature of trafficking in persons continues to manifest itself in myriad ways all over the world, interpretation of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (Trafficking Protocol), should be broadened to include newly emerging practices that are similar in nature to those it has already embraced under its definition. The Protocol appears to encompass other forms of trafficking which are unnamed or unforeseen by the definition provided under Article 3. It is time to expand its spectrum. Northeast Africa is plagued by a unique form of trafficking in persons—trafficking in persons for ransom. This involves a practice where people are smuggled, abducted, kidnapped and tortured to compel their relatives and families to pay ransom money. Victims are nationals of Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan. However, as Northeast Africa hosts particularly high numbers of Eritrean migrants and the largest Eritrean diaspora globally, Eritreans are very vulnerable to being targeted for trafficking for ransom. As trafficking for ransom is an emerging trend, legal ramifications have never been studied in full. Few reports try to address legal issues around the phenomenon, and those that do only give it a few paragraphs of attention. There is need for a closer look at this form of trafficking.


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Author Biography

Mogos O Brhane, Ministry of Justice, Eritrea

Mogos O Brhane worked as National Coordinator of Community Courts of Eritrea, in Eritrea between 2009–2013. Since 2004, he has worked on various projects in the Ministry of Justice of the State of Eritrea, including as researcher in a project designed to consolidate Eritrean laws issued since 1991. He was also a member of the Review Committee of the Eritrean draft Criminal Code. He studied law at Asmara University, Asmara, Eritrea, and Criminal Law and Criminology LLM course at Groningen University, Groningen, Netherlands.




How to Cite

Brhane, M. O. (2015). Trafficking in Persons for Ransom and the Need to Expand the Interpretation of Article 3 of the UN Trafficking Protocol. Anti-Trafficking Review, (4).