Human Trafficking, Equality, and Access to Victims’ Rights
When a migration crisis strikes, some of the migrants who reach EU territory are at heightened risk of being trafficked and/or exploited in domestic work, in the agricultural sector, or in the sex industry; some have already been victimised before the journey, while others have experienced violence along the way.
In the area of human trafficking, the right to be considered equal before the law and the guarantee of access to victims’ rights in full respect of equality have a fundamental role in protecting those rights and in preventing the phenomenon of human trafficking.
The aim of this chapter is to investigate the implementation of the principle of equality in access to victims’ rights as guaranteed by the EU legal order. Given that trafficked persons are not necessarily in an irregular position and that some of them are European Union citizens, there are in particular two questions that need to be addressed. These concern (i) the differences between persons in an irregular versus a regular position to access victims’ rights, and (ii) the differences between victims who are EU citizens or their family members as opposed to being third-country nationals.
The chapter highlights how the legal framework for counteracting human trafficking might be improved. A practical solution that might work would be to guarantee safer conditions for victims, i.e., with longer periods of reflection or with assistance irrespective of their residence status, while taking forceful measures against traffickers, so as to avert the risk of creating a pull factor by giving them an opportunity to exploit the legal framework to their advantage.
KeywordsAccess to justice Cooperation Equality Human trafficking Migration Victims’ rights
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