European Court of Human Rights and the Right not to be Subjected to Slavery, Servitude, Forced Labour and Human Trafficking

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter

Abstract

Against the backdrop of the rich judicial output of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), the case law under Article 4 (slavery, servitude, forced labour and human trafficking) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is scarce. To be more precise, the existing judgments in which the Court has dealt with abuses inflicted by non-state actors (i.e. employers) reaching the level of severity of Article 4 are eight. In this chapter, I will review these recent judgments and offer a comprehensive analysis of the challenges that need to be addressed in terms of definitional limits and the states’ positive obligations so that human rights law can more effectively respond to the factual reality that reveals that many individuals are subjected to severe forms of exploitation. As to the definitional challenges, one problematic development that I will highlight is the central focus on the concept of human trafficking that has been the dominant frame for conceptualizing abuses. While this development has had some positive effects, it has also led to some negative repercussions that need to be acknowledged. In particular, the concept of human trafficking has brought confusion and obscurity as to the nature and gravity of the harm suffered. As to the positive obligations corresponding to the right not to be subjected to slavery, servitude and forced labour, the ECtHR has made some impressive advances that are I will detail and analyze.

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Authors
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Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Law

Keywords

  • Human rights, Public international law
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave International Handbook of Human Trafficking
EditorsJ Winterdyk, J Jackie
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)9783319630588
ISBN (Print)9783319630595
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes