GoJIL Vol. 3, No. 2 (2011)
Complementary Protection for Victims of Human Trafficking under the European Convention on Human Rights
The international legal framework regulating the problem of human trafficking contains the presumption that the return of victims of human trafficking to their countries of origin is the standard resolution for their cases. However, victims might have legitimate reasons for not wanting to go back. For those victims, resort to the legal framework of the European Convention on Human Rights could be a solution. I elaborate on the protection capacity of Article 3 when upon return victims face dangers of re-trafficking, retaliation, rejection by family and/or community and when upon return to the country of origin victims could be subjected to degrading treatment due to unavailability of social and medical assistance. In light of the Rantsev v. Cyprus and Russia case, I develop an argument under Article 4 that states cannot send victims to those countries which do not meet the positive obligations standard as established in the case. Article 8 could be relevant: first, when the level of feared harm in the country of origin does not reach the severity of Article 3 but is sufficiently grave to be in breach of the right to private life and engage the non-refoulement principle, and second, when the victim has developed social ties within the receiving state and the removal will lead to their disruption.
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