The Palermo Protocol: Trafficking Takes it All


  • Jónína Einarsdóttir
  • Hamadou Boiro



Trafficking, children, Palermo Protocol, maltreatment.


The Palermo Protocol is the outcome of bargain and lobbying with global institutions, NGOs and government representatives embattling to enforce their interests. The outcome is the concept of trafficking that embraces the struggles against prostitution, slavery and child labour. This broad concept has allowed various local cultural practices and survival strategies of those who live under difficult conditions to become classified as trafficking. While such definition may facilitate fundraising there are adverse consequences to be considered. Firstly, hazardous conditions of children that obviously are not trafficking tend to become ignored. Second, the victims of “real” trafficking become invisible by the excessive number of children allegedly trafficked. Third, the broad definition of trafficking has contributed to criminalization of whole communities and consequent conflicts between NGOs engaged in anti-trafficking activities and the communities involved. Such a situation is not in the best interest of the children involved. Rather than spending huge amount of resources on the conventional anti-trafficking measures there is a need to address the root causes of whatsoever unacceptable condition a child is suffering from.

Author Biographies

Jónína Einarsdóttir

Professor, Faculty of Social and Human Sciences, University of Iceland.

Hamadou Boiro

Researcher, Instituto Nacional de Estudos e Pesquisa (INEP), Guinea-Bissau.




How to Cite

Einarsdóttir, J., & Boiro, H. (2014). The Palermo Protocol: Trafficking Takes it All. Icelandic Review of Politics & Administration, 10(2), 387–398.



Peer Reviewed Articles