Permanent Residency for Human Trafficking Victims in Europe: The Potential Use of Article 3 of the European Convention as a Means of Protection
37 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2009
Date Written: November 10, 2009
Human trafficking generates an estimated £5 billion per year (approximately $7.3 billion), making it the second largest criminal enterprise in the world. Its victims are often poor, uneducated, exploited due to their lack of family or friends or stable community, and snatched away from their homes to be forced into the sex trade or domestic slavery. However, those trafficking victims who have been transported to another country and are lucky enough to escape from their captors often find themselves facing deportation to their home countries, where they may be at significant risk of being re-trafficked.
One signficant, though to date underutilized, method of gaining asylum for victims who have been denied residency under the domestic laws of a Council of Europe (COE) member state may exist Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The expansive jurisprudence of Article 3 claims, together with Article 3's requirement of non-refoulement, arguably offers a significant additional layer of protection to trafficking victims seeking to avoid deportation from a COE member state, and is a method which should be used more frequently for the benefit of these victims.
Keywords: human trafficking, european convention on human rights, ECHR, article 3
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