A: The UNODC human trafficking case law database is very easy to use. There are currently more than 800 case briefs from 70 different countries and three supranational courts (European Court of Human Rights, European Court of Justice and ECOWAS Court of Justice which you can browse in two ways: by country or by keywords. You can also use a quick search box in case you already have some information about the particular case. The results can also be filtered by additional criteria. A list of these criteria appears on the left side of your browser after you have entered a search. Simply open the case of your choice and scroll down to see the full case brief.
Watch our video presentation to find out more about how the human trafficking case law database works:
A: Cases are included in the database when all the three constituent elements of the internationally agreed upon definition of trafficking in persons are present, even though the case may have been prosecuted not under trafficking-specific national legislation. The three constituent elements of trafficking in persons are
the act (what is done),
the means (how it is done) and the
purpose of exploitation (why it is done). If the three elements cannot be ascertained but the case would nevertheless be interesting to be included, the particular reasons for inclusion are explained in the Commentary/Significant Features section at the bottom of the respective case summary.
The definition in article 3, Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, reads:
"Trafficking in persons" shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.
A: The initial launch provided case briefs from 30 countries and 2 regional courts. Since then, we have continuously expanded the database and many more case briefs are going to be added in the coming months. If you wish to contribute cases from a particular jurisdiction, you are most welcome to do so. Please contact us.
A: Since the database makes court documents more easily publically available, we deem it important that victims or defendants that were not found guilty are not named. Where the names of victims or defendants that were not found guilty would appear in the original court document, we have changed their names to only initials. There are some few exceptions such as for the cases of the European Court of Human Rights, which we deem to be so widely available that using initials would not assist the protection of the plaintiff but may confuse the reader with an altered case name.
A: For the time being, the database is available in English, Spanish and French. However, we plan to translate the database application into all six United Nations languages, so that case briefs can be uploaded and accessed in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
A: Please do not hesitate to contact us in case of any queries, suggestions, technical problems or simply any new ideas:
Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section
P.O. Box 500
Tel. (+43-1) 26060-5687
Fax. (+43-1) 26060-75687
E-Mail: Please use the contact form