A human rights based approach to trafficking in human beings (THB) is often fostered but not applied in practice. Based on the human rights legal framework the state obligations are identified. These obligations, to criminalize THB, to prosecute THB, to protect and assist victims and to address the root causes, are not addressed in an equal way since the main focus of counter trafficking measures focus on the criminalisation and the prosecution. To also address the assistance and protection of victims and the root causes of THB additional measures are required. It is proposed to make the needs of THB-victims leading instead of criminal law interests, and to develop a Victim Assistance and Protection Package (VAPP). The root causes of THB emerge both on the supply side and the demand side. Suggestions are made to improve the situation on both sides with the ultimate aim to prevent THB.
Boaventura de Sousa Santos treated Tilburg University to a colorful and rich pallet of topics during his Montesquieu lecture that prompted self-reflection and critical review of the role of law in our western societies. He argued that the way the law functions today leads to the creation of an abyssal line that creates radical exclusions. Although critical of the role of law and the legal regime in western societies, he encourages us, lawyers of the 21st century, to reform and further develop the law in such a way that it is built on democratic pluralism, interculturality and dignity and as such contributes to a more inclusive society. In this short reflection on de Sousa Santos’ Lecture, I highlight some examples and situations that show how rules and procedures of Western societies can have detrimental effects on large groups of refugees and migrants.
There is a common claim and widely held perception that statelessness puts a person at greater risk of becoming a victim of human trafficking. The underlying logic is compelling: without any nationality, stateless people often face severe obstacles in access to education, employment, health care, legal remedies, freedom of movement and other basic rights - thus they are more likely to take risks in the hope of improving their lives and they are more readily exploitable. The link between statelessness and a heightened vulnerability to human trafficking has, however, never been decisively demonstrated using empirical data. In order to fill this information gap, the authors sought to develop a methodology that would enable the connection between statelessness and trafficking to be mapped. This article outlines the theory and assumptions that underlie the research methodology developed and briefly discusses how this methodology is being implemented in a concrete pilot project in Thailand.