Human beings trafficking in the European Court of Human Rights case-law

AuthorLaura-Cristiana Sp?taru-Negur?
PositionAssistant Lecturer, PhD, Faculty of Law, 'Nicolae Titulescu' University of Bucharest (e-mail:
Laura-Cristiana SPĂTARU-NEGURĂ
After last year’s analysis regarding the European Union’s commitment to fight a gainst the
human beings trafficking, we have considered to further explore the human beings trafficking approach
in the European Court of Human Rights case-law, the most developped regional jurisdiction on human
Surprisingly, the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental
Freedoms does not make an express reference to th e human beings trafficking. However, we have to
bear in mind that the Convention is a living instrument, its interpretation being made in the light of the
present-day conditions. Thus, taking into consideration the global threat of this phenomenon, it is more
obvious than ever that the Convention could not neglect this issue.
Keywords: human beings trafficking, European Court of Human Rights, Convention, case-law.
1. Introductive Remarks
Through this study, we propose an
analysis to increase the understanding
between the protection of human rights
under the European Convention for the
Protection of Human Rights and
Fundamental Freedoms (hereinafter the
European Convention on Human Rights
or the “Convention”) and one of the most
serious global threats, the human beings
trafficking. This is really necessary in order
to strengthen human protection at t he
national level, having in mind that the
European Court for Human Rights
(hereinafter the “ECHR or the “Court”)
represents the most developed regional
jurisdiction on human rights
. To attain this
Assistant Lecturer, PhD, Faculty of Law, "Nicolae Titulescu" University of Bucharest (e-mail:
For general information on the European system of human rights protection instituted by the Council of Europe,
please see Raluca Miga-Besteliu, Drept international public, 1st volume, 3rd edition, C.H. Beck Publishing House,
Bucharest, 2014, p. 184-185, and Bogdan Aurescu, Sistemul jurisdictiilor internationale, 2nd edition, C.H. Beck
Publishing House, Bucharest, 2013, p. 211 and following.
purpose, the present study seeks to provide
the most relevant examples from the Court’s
Right from the beginning, we
underline that the Convention does not make
any express reference to the human beings
trafficking (although the Conventio n
prohibits “slavery and the slave trade in all
forms” under Article 4). This should not
surprise us, having in view that the
Convention was inspir ed by the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed in
1948 by the General Assembly of the United
Nations, which does not expressly address
the human beings trafficking problem either.
However, as it is stated in the Court’s
case-law and it is widely recognized in the
legal doctrine, the Convention is “a living
instrument (…) which must be interpreted in

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