Together Against Trafficking in Human Beings

Legislation and Case Law

Legislation and Case Law

The Legislation and Case Law section provides an overview of anti-trafficking European and international legislation and relevant case law of EU Member States. National legislation can be found in the Member States and EU policy documents in the EU Policy section.

The international legislative anti-trafficking framework has been consolidated through the elaboration of several instruments. On the international level, the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons and at regional level the2005 Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings are key instruments.

At the EU level, the new Directive 2011/36/EU, on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA, has been formally adopted on the 5 April 2011. It makes explicit that the definition of trafficking in human beings covers also trafficking for forced begging, for the exploitation of criminal activities, for the removal of organs as well as for illegal adoption or forced marriages. The instrument also introduces tougher penalties for traffickers as well as better protection of and assistance to victims. It is based on international standards and further expands them.

Complementary to this, the Council Directive 2004/81 introduced a residence permit for victims who cooperate with the competent authorities. This means that every victim of human trafficking who is not an EU national and is staying irregularly should be offered a so-called reflection period. During this period, the victim can make a decision on whether to cooperate with the authorities in criminal proceedings.

Pertaining to case law, there is an increasing body of jurisprudence on trafficking in human beings.