- Trafficking in human beings, enslavement, crimes against humanity: unravelling the concepts
- Chinese Journal of International Law
- Volume | Issue number
- 13 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Law (FdR)
- Amsterdam Center for International Law (ACIL)
This article explores the conceptual relationship between trafficking in human beings, enslavement and crimes against humanity. The analysis of case law of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the European Court on Human Rights reveals that, while trafficking in human beings and enslavement are increasingly overlapping, they still do not coincide. Moreover, enslavement is only a crime against humanity if it is committed in a widespread or systematic manner by an organization which displays State-like features. In the opinion of the author, the qualification of human trafficking as "modern slavery" is therefore confusing. The fact that human trafficking covers a wide array of offences influences the choice of forum in respect of criminal law enforcement. While enslavement as a crime against humanity may belong to the jurisdictional realm of international criminal tribunals and the International Criminal Court (provided that domestic jurisdictions have proved to be "unwilling" or "unable"), other forms of human trafficking are, in the view of the author, best left to national courts.
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