Feminist Review

, Volume 76, Issue 1, pp 26–45 | Cite as

Sex trafficking in women from Central and East European countries: promoting a ‘victim-centred’ and ‘woman-centred’ approach to criminal justice intervention

  • Jo Goodey


Since the collapse of the Berlin wall, women and girls have been trafficked from central and eastern Europe to work as prostitutes in the European Union. This paper looks at the response of the international community to the problem of sex trafficking as it impacts on the EU. The focus is on criminal justice intervention with respect to protection of and assistance to ‘victims’, and a specially witness protection, in the light of the following: the tensions and promises between treatment of trafficked women as ‘victims’ of crime and criminal justice informants; and the need to re-focus on a ‘woman-centred’ approach to criminal justice intervention for trafficked women. Given the diverse nature of law and criminal justice practice between EU Member States, the paper necessarily presents a generic critique of current EU and international ‘best practice’ recommendations, with some commentary on practice based on the author's research, with respect to what ‘gold standards’ of practice offer in theory and what is delivered in reality. The question of ‘victim-centred’ justice and/or ‘woman-centred’ justice is raised in an effort to promote effective policy recommendations.


nature of trafficking EU policy witness protection victim-centred woman-centred good practice 


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© Feminist Review Ltd 2004

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  • Jo Goodey

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