Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children


The Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children is one of the thematic special procedures overseen by the United Nations Human Rights Council, and is charged with monitoring human rights violations committed against trafficked persons and contributing to efforts to combat trafficking. The main functions of the Special Rapporteur are to communicate with governments about alleged violations, conduct country visits to more fully understand the trafficking situation, and submit reports to the Human Rights Council and UN General Assembly annually.

The Special Rapporteur must apply a gender and age perspective throughout the fulfillment of his or her mandate.


The mandate of the Special Rapporteur lasts for a period of three years. The mandate is filled by one highly-qualified individual.

The UN Commission on Human Rights established the Special Rapporteurship in 2004 with Resolution 2004/110. The Human Rights Council extended the mandate in 2008 with Resolution 8/12 and again in 2011 with Resolution 17/1.

In fulfilling the mandate, the Special Rapporteur undertakes country visits, communicates with governments concerning information and complaints received regarding alleged rights violations, and submits reports on its activities to the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council.

Country Visits

One important function of the Special Rapporteur is to conduct country visits, which he or she does on the basis of an invitation from the country concerned. Country visits provide the Special Rapporteur an opportunity to study the trafficking situation within the country and make recommendations to the State about how to prevent or combat trafficking. They also provide the Special Rapporteur with opportunities to observe best practices, which he or she can then disseminate to other countries.

The Special Rapporteur undertakes one to four country visits per year, to States that have extended an invitation. View the list of previous country visits and the Special Rapporteur’s subsequent reports here.

More than 100 countries have extended standing invitations to country visits by all thematic special procedures. View the list of countries that have extended standing invitations here.

Receiving Information & Complaints

The Special Rapporteur receives information and complaints about violations committed against trafficked persons and situations in which laws or policies might negatively impact their human rights. Importantly, the Special Rapporteur does not issue decisions concerning individual complaints and cannot require the State to remedy any alleged violation; rather, the Special Rapporteur raises the issue of concern with the relevant State.

The Special Rapporteur may contact the government concerned to invite comment on the allegation, seek clarification, remind the government of its international obligations, or request information on steps being taken by the government to redress the situation. Generally called “communications,” these exchanges with the government can take a variety of forms of varying degrees of significance. Specifically, the Special Rapporteur contacts a government through either an allegation letter or an urgent appeal.

The Special Rapporteur keeps confidential all communications to and from the government until it includes them in the communications reports, which are submitted periodically to the Human Rights Council.

In all communications, the Special Rapporteur is careful not to draw any conclusions about the facts of the case. Instead, the Special Rapporteur simply presses for the government to ensure that individuals’ human rights are not violated.

Allegation Letters

Generally, the Special Rapporteur sends an allegation letter in circumstances where the alleged violation has already occurred, or is not so pressing as to warrant sending an urgent appeal. An allegation letter generally contains a request for the government to clarify the substance of the allegation and to forward any information related to the allegation to the Special Rapporteur.

Urgent Appeals

The urgent appeals procedure is reserved for cases in which there are sufficiently reliable allegations that a person is currently or may imminently face human rights violations, in the context of trafficking. An urgent appeal generally contains an urgent warning to the government concerned about the situation and a request for information about the steps being taken to guarantee that the human rights of the individual(s) involved are protected.

Reports to the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council

The Special Rapporteur reports annually to the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly on all of its activities relating to its mandate. These reports are available on the Special Rapporteur’s Annual Reports webpage.


Complaints should be submitted to the Special Rapporteur via the online submission form. Complaints submitted to the Special Rapporteur must contain the information requested on the questionnaire, including:

  • general information about the incident, such as the number and nationality of the alleged victims and the country or countries in which the incident took place;
  • identity of the persons concerned, such as their name, sex, age, and nationality;
  • information regarding the alleged violation, such as the date, place, and time of the incident(s) and the number of perpetrators;
  • steps taken by the victim(s) or on their behalf, steps taken by authorities, and any other steps that have been taken and their outcomes; and the
  • identity and contact information of the person or institution submitting the complaint.

The Special Rapporteur may also be contacted by:

  • Mail:

Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons
c/o Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais des Nations
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
CH-1211 Geneva 10

To contact the Special Rapporteur on a matter not related to a complaint, use the email address: [email protected] or the fax number and address listed above.