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Case Law Last update : 19.08.2013

This section provides an overview of Case Law on trafficking in human beings considered by the European Court of Human Rights as well as an overview of Case Law from EU Member States. It will be regularly updated.

  • China v. Secretary of State for the Home Department

    Country: United Kingdom

    Court: Asylum and Immigration Tribunal

    Sentenced date: 11/11/2008

    Purpose of exploitation: Exploitation of the prostitution

    In this case the appellants are a female citizen of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and her dependent child born in the United Kingdom.  She was trafficked into the UK for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Her daughter was born in the UK after she entered the country.

    She complaint against the decision of the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal to send her and her daughter to the PRC and having refused them asylum, humanitarian protection and human rights claims. The appeals were dismissed on all grounds with the argument that women and girls in China, in general, face no real risks of serious harm from traffickers.

  • Moldova v. Secretary of State for the Home

    Country: United Kingdom

    Court: Asylum and Immigration Tribunal

    Sentenced date: 26/11/2007

    Purpose of exploitation: Exploitation of the prostitution

    In this case the Appellant, a woman from Moldova, brought complaint against the decision of the UK Asylum and Immigration Tribunal to refuse her application for asylum and to grant humanitarian protection. She had been trafficked into the United Kingdom for the purposes of sexual exploitation and had subsequently given evidence against the person responsible for her sexual exploitation.

    In this case the Tribunal found that "former victims of trafficking" and "former victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation" are capable of being members of a particular social group within regulation 6 1) (d) because of their shared common background or past experience of having been trafficked. In this case the appeal was allowed.

  • Case concerning Mehak

    Country: the Netherlands

    Court: The Hague District Court

    Sentenced date: 15/01/2008

    Purpose of exploitaion: Forced labour or services

    In this case, the defendant is accused of the mistreatment of the girl Mehak, resulting in serious bodily harm and ultimately in her death. Mehak and her parents resided lived and worked at the defendants’ house The Defendant induced the parents of Mehak, either entirely or partly, to neglect their small daughter and beat her. The circumstances under which Mehak's parents worked for and resided with the Defendant and her husband are qualified as trafficking in human beings.

  • Moonfish Case

    Country: the Netherlands

    Court: Zwolle District Court

    Sentenced date: 29/04/2008

    Purpose of exploitation: Forced labour or services

    The Defendant, owner of a factory in Netherlands, recruited, transported, transferred and housed several illegal Indian men with the purpose of exploitation and profit from this exploitation.

    The victims had to work six days a week, frequently for longer than 8 hours a day, they were paid €800 a month with deduction of € 100 rent a month, and they had no payment for overwork. The victims performed heavy work for a wage that was not in line with market rates.

    The Court declares the guilt of the defendant for the offence of giving instructions or exercising effective control over the committing of punishable acts by a legal entity since he was the owner of the factory. The defendant in several occasions willfully submitted a tax return by the Dutch tax law incompletely and incorrectly, which resulted in too little tax being levied.

  • Case concerning mentally handicapped person in Zeist

    Country: the Netherlands

    Court: Uthrecht District Court

    Sentenced date: 14/07/2008

    Purpose of exploitation: Labour exploitation

    The Defendant is accused of recruitment, misuse of authority, abuse of the vulnerable position of a person with the purpose of exploiting him. He forced and induced this person to make himself available for performing labour.

    The victim had a limited mental capacity and the mental age of a ten-year-old.  During the day, he worked in sheltered employment at the Sociale Werkvoorziening Zeist in Zeist.

    The proven facts in the principal charge constitute the criminal offence of human trafficking, committed on several occasions.

  • Diamond City Case, Eindhoven

    Country: Netherlands

    Court: Supreme Court

    Sentenced date: 27/10/2009

    Purpose of exploitation: Forced labout or services

    District Court of 's-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands (Public prosecutor's office number: 01/825364-06), 8 March 2007

    In this case, the indictment stated exploitation of vulnerable persons (illegal Chinese) by making them work long hours in a Chinese restaurant. In return they received food and housing or very low remuneration. In the opinion of the Court,  the Defendant and/or others didn’t take the initiative or any active steps with regard to illegal Chinese people by approaching them or inducing them to come and work in the restaurant. Under these circumstances, it couldn’t be proven that the Defendant consciously abused the weaker/vulnerable position of the Chinese when providing accommodation or receiving them.

    Furthermore, the Court is of the opinion that, although the work situation can be regarded as socially undesirable, there is no question of an exploitative situation as defined in Article 273f of the Criminal Code.

    The public prosecution service appealed to the Supreme Court.

    The Court of 1st instance only convicted the defendant for human smuggling. However, the defendant was acquitted for human trafficking. The Court of Appeal upheld that decision.

  • Polish cleaning women case

    Country: the Netherlands

    Court: The Hague District Court

    Sentenced date: 05/10/2007

    Purpose of exploitation: Forced labour or services

    In this case, the Defendant is accused of aiding and abetting human trafficking (charge no. 1) (Article 273f (1) (i) (iv) and (vi), of the Dutch Criminal Code. The Defendant recruited several Polish women to come and work as domestic staff in the Netherlands and arranged work for the women as cleaners.

    The Explanatory Memorandum states that exploitation in the sense of this Article refers to modern types of slavery. The legislator has left further definition of the concept of exploitation to the courts. This Court is of the opinion that interpretation of the concept of exploitation should be modelled on the fifth report of the Dutch National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings, which contains a number of (non-exhaustive) indicators that could be a sign of exploitation. The Court is of the opinion that there are indications of misrepresentation, poor working conditions and multiple dependencies. Nonetheless, in the judgement of the Court, there is no question of a situation of excesses which would constitute an infringement of fundamental human rights.

  • Sahel case

    Country: Italy

    Court: Court of Assizes in L'Aquila (Italy)

    Sentence date: 25 May 2012

    Purpose of exploitation: Exploitation of prostitution

    The Court of Assizes in L'Aquila (Italy) rendered a Judgment in favour of 17 Nigerian women being forced into prostitution and in a severe state of exploitation.

    The said Court pronounced sentences of 100 years for the 19 defendants, finding them guilty of serious crimes, including criminal association with the purpose of trafficking, slavery and illegal immigration. Of special interest in this case are the provisions related to compensation to victims.

    The ruling makes reference to the provision of Article 600 of the Italian Criminal Code (enslavement) concerning prostitution exploitation and the Directive 2011/36/EU on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims. Especially, recital 13 of the said Directive requires that "The use of seized and confiscated instrumentalities and the proceeds from the offences referred to in this Directive to support victims’ assistance and protection, including compensation of victims and Union trans-border law enforcement counter-trafficking activities, should be encouraged” and Article 17 (compensation of victims) stipulates that " Member States shall ensure that victims of trafficking in human beings have access to existing schemes of compensation to victims of violent crimes of intent"

    The Court ordered  50,000€ compensation to each of the 17 Nigerian women victims.

  • Ol. Sk. prostitution exploitation case

    Country: Italy

    Court: Milan Court of Appeal, 1st Criminal Section

    Sentence date: of 22 September 2004

    Purpose of exploitation: Sexual exploitation

    With this ruling, the Milan Court of Appeal declared Ol. Sk. (Albanian national) guilty of the offence set out and punished under Article 600 of Italian Criminal Code (enslavement) and prostitution exploitation.

    The victim Na Me. was brought into slavery like condition. Ol. Sk. had specifically led the girl to leave her country of origin by means of the tricky prospect of finding a job abroad. On the contrary, he forced her to prostitution once illegally arrived in Italy by subjecting her to daily threats, violence and harassment. He also systematically checked every action of her and fully appropriated the proceeds of this business.

    The exploitation of prostitution offence was perpetrated with the help of Ha. Za. and Fe. De. (Albanian nationals), who recruited young non-EU women and forced them into prostitution on streets, while promoting their activities through arranging a control and security service on places of prostitution, as well as through taking advantage of said activities by fully appropriating the proceeds obtained therefrom.

    For these offences, Ol. Sk. was sentenced to 8 years and 6 months' imprisonment and a fine of 35,000 Euros. He was also declared everlastingly barred from holding public office and deprived of the exercise of his civil and political rights while serving the sentence.

    Ha. Za. and Fe. De. were solely convicted on the prostitution exploitation offence. The former was sentenced to 6 years’ imprisonment and a fine of 2,500.00 Euros, as well as barred from holding public office for 5 years, whereas the latter was sentenced to 2 years and 2 months’ imprisonment and a fine.

  • Ej. Al. sexual exploitation case

    Country: Italy

    Court: Supreme Court of Cassation, 3rd Criminal Section

    Sentence date: 8 June 2010

    Purpose of exploitation: Sexual exploitation

    The Turin Court of Appeal confirmed the guilt finding for Ej. Al. in relation to the offences of recruitment  and exploitation of the prostitution of Ru. Sh., Eg. Ga. and Ni. Da. in participation with certain Ba. Lu., Hi. Ri. and Hi. Ma. having been judged separately.

    The Territorial Court also confirmed the conviction against Ej. and Gi. La. An. Fl. in relation to the offence attributed to them since they had tricked Gi. Io. Au. and Va. Al. Fl., both being minors, into entering the territory of the State (of Italy) through promising them a lawful and fair job and even bestowing the parents of Va. Al. Fl. with a sum of money.

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