Slavery and Human Trafficking

  • Slavery, forced labour and human trafficking affect men, women and children across Europe.
  • This kind of exploitation is prohibited under the case law of the European Court of Human Rights.
  • Cases before the Strasbourg court have led to significant reforms in this area – including the criminalisation of slavery and human trafficking in several European countries.

 

Examples

Death of an alleged victim of human trafficking

At age 20, Oxana Rantseva was allegedly trafficked from Russia to Cyprus for sexual exploitation. Two weeks later, she was found dead beneath a balcony after trying to escape. The Strasbourg court found that the authorities had failed to protect her and also failed to properly investigate after her death. Following the events, a series of measures were carried out to fight human trafficking.

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Human trafficking criminalised after 14-year-old girl kept in domestic servitude in Paris

From the age of 14, Henriette Akofa Siliadin was kept in domestic servitude. She worked all day, 7 days a week for over 4 years, for no pay. The people responsible could not be properly brought to justice, because French law had not criminalised their actions. The case helped bring about legal reforms to combat human trafficking.

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Practical reforms to combat human trafficking

When L.E. was 22 she was tricked into travelling to Greece with a human trafficker. When they arrived, the trafficker took L.E.’s passport and made her work as a prostitute. The Strasbourg court found that after the authorities had been alerted, their response suffered from significant shortcomings and delays. Since that time, considerable reforms have been introduced to help tackle human...

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USEFUL LINKS

 Council of Europe’s website on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings

Factsheets on the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights:

 Trafficking human beings PDF (185 Ko)

 Slavery, servitude and forced labour PDF (250 Ko)

 Article 4 –prohibition of slavery and forced labour PDF (300 Ko)