Criminal Law Reform and Anti-Human Trafficking Background

The ABA Rule of Law Initiative’s (ABA ROLI’s) criminal law reform and anti-human trafficking program provides technical assistance to national governments, civil society actors and legal professionals to provide the skills and knowledge necessary to combat challenging criminal justice issues. ABA ROLI trains lawyers on advocacy skills to enable them to more zealously represent the rights of their clients and to empower them to reform criminal justice systems from within.

ABA ROLI plays a vital and active role in establishing public defender and indigent defense centers, leaving a legacy of equal access to justice in many countries. Our programs also delineate the respective roles of judges, prosecutors and defense counsel, ensuring a balance of power between the state and the accused. Targeted, substantive trainings on money laundering, terrorist financing, domestic violence, and on the protections and remedies afforded by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights further professionalize criminal justice actors. ABA ROLI efforts in criminal procedure code reform have resulted in more fair investigations and trials—including the introduction of jury trials—and in more thoroughly enumerated and protected rights for victims and the accused.

ABA ROLI assesses countries’ compliance with international anti-human trafficking standards and conventions and provides expertise on drafting legislation, national action plans and strategies to combat human trafficking. We promote cooperation across borders, and strive to enhance the capacity of national organizations and government ministries involved in anti-human trafficking efforts and to raise public awareness. We train law enforcement officials, judges and prosecutors to more effectively investigate and try human trafficking cases. We also promote more effective protection and security measures for victims, while implementing effective trial monitoring programs.