AT v. Dulghieru – Compensation for Victims of Trafficking, but Where is the Restitution?
Torts Law Journal, Vol. 18, pp. 87-106, 2010
20 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2010 Last revised: 17 Aug 2010
Date Written: March 1, 2010
In At v .Dulghieru four victims of human trafficking successfully sued two of their traffickers for sexual enslavement for periods of 1 to 2 months. The claimants were awarded a total of £601,000 in damages for pain and suffering and loss of amenity, aggravated damages and exemplary damages. The court held that the purpose of exemplary damages in cases like this is the prevention of unjust enrichment. This case comment briefly analyses some of the typical issues raised in such claims, including the basis of liability, proving pecuniary damages and traffickers’ liability for victims’ detention by the authorities. Most importantly, it suggests what should be the relationship between compensation, restitution and punitive damages.
Victims of trafficking should be awarded both significant damages for their sexual enslavement and all the profit made at their expense. In addition, human trafficking is an activity which justifies the award of a truly punitive element in exemplary damages, over and above full restitution. The comment notes the confusion between the punitive and restitutionary roles of exemplary damages revealed by the case (and other English decisions) and suggests that the court might have failed to award full restitution to the claimants.
Keywords: trafficking, prostitution, torts, punitive damages, restitution
JEL Classification: K13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation