Published in May 2019
This module is a resource for lecturers
This section contains material that is meant to support lecturers and provide ideas for interactive discussions and case-based analysis of the topic under consideration.
Exercise 1: Shortcomings of the criminal justice response
Watch the short film Human trafficking in Europe - domestic servitude by the European Commission with your students.
Proposed questions for discussion:
Engage your students in a group discussion on the following questions:
- Available data and estimates demonstrate that only a very small percentage of traffickers are brought to justice. Why do you think this is so?
- What do you imagine could be the major challenges in investigating and prosecuting trafficking?
- Considering that trafficking is an issue that goes much beyond the realm of "crime", do you think criminal justice responses per se alone are sufficient to combat trafficking?
- How does the criminal justice response contribute to preventing and combating trafficking in persons?
- What do you consider to be the major shortcomings in the criminal justice response to trafficking?
Exercise 2: Jurisdiction and Extraterritoriality
The US Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2003 (TVPA) provides
[A] ny grant, contract, or cooperative agreement provided or entered into by a federal department or agency under which funds are to be provided by a private entity, shall be included a condition that authorizes the department or cooperative agreement, without penalty, if the grantee or any sub-grantee, or the contractor or any subcontractor (i) engages in severe forms of trafficking in persons or have procured a commercial sex act during the period of time that the grant, contract, or cooperative agreement is in effect, or (ii) uses forced labour in the performances if the grant, contract or cooperative agreement.
However, in 2005, the TVPA was amended to include an extraterritorial application in cases involving civilian employees of the United States in a foreign country. Section 2371 of the act provides:
Whoever, while employed by or accompanying the federal government outside the United States, engages in conduct outside the United States, that would constitute any offense under this title if the conduct has been engaged in within the United States or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States should be punished as provided for that offense.
Article 16 of Egyptian Law no. 64 of 2010 regarding Combating Human Trafficking provides
"Subject to the provision of Article (4) of the Penal Code, the provisions of this law shall apply to non-Egyptians who commit the crime of human trafficking stipulated in Articles 5 and 6 of this law outside of the Arab Republic of Egypt, as long as the act is punishable in the State in which it occurred, under any legal description, in the following cases:
- If the crime was committed on board any air, land, or water means of transportation that was registered in the Arab Republic of Egypt or under its flag;
- If one or more of the victims was Egyptian;
- If the preparation for the crime or its planning, direction, supervision, or financing occurred in the Arab Republic of Egypt;
- If the crime was committed by an organized criminal group engaged in criminal activities in more than one State, including the Arab Republic of Egypt;
- If the crime caused harm to any citizen or resident, to the security, or to any of the interests of the Arab Republic of Egypt within the country or abroad;
If the one who committed the crime in the Arab Republic of Egypt was found after the crime was committed and was not extradited."
Proposed question for discussion
Ask your students to read article 16 of Egyptian Law no. 64 of 2010 regarding Combating Human Trafficking and compare it with the TVPA's approach to extraterritoriality. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each? How could they be improved?
Exercise 3: Western responsibility for goods produced by forced labour
Fishermen long for justice as Thailand comes under U.N. scrutiny
Win was sold to a boat operator in Thailand for 6,000 baht ($192) two years ago. He is from Myanmar. He worked as a fisherman until he lost his forearm in an accident on the vessel in 2018. Toiling for 19 hours a day, Win said the crew of 30 sometimes would not get any rest during peak season, with a United Nations team in Thailand this week to investigate such reports of abusive working conditions.
"Life is difficult as a fisherman in Myanmar so I thought it would make my life better if I come and work in Thailand," the father of four, 39, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
"The 'agent' did not tell me what work I was going to do or how much I would be paid. I just ended up working on the boat." The world's third largest seafood exporter, Thailand's fishing industry employs more than 300,000 people, many of them migrant workers from neighbouring countries, and the sector has long been dogged by allegations of abuses.
The industry is under further international scrutiny this week as a team of United Nations experts undertake their first visit to examine human rights in a wide range of businesses in Thailand, including the fishing and seafood sectors.
Speaking from Samut Sakhon, a major fishing hub one hour drive from the capital Bangkok, Win said he lost his left arm after it was caught in a wheel as he hoisted the net one day.
Thailand's multibillion-dollar seafood sector has come under scrutiny in recent years after investigations by the media and human rights groups showed slavery, trafficking and violence on fishing boats and at onshore processing facilities. "Human rights abuses in supply chains, for example, are a very critical issue. Another area of global concern is the rights of migrant workers."
Beh Lih Yi, Reuters, Fishermen long for justice as Thailand comes under U.N. scrutiny (29 March 2018)
Proposed question for discussion
What responsibility should countries have in relation to goods/services they import from countries where there is credible evidence those goods/services have been produced using trafficked labour?
Exercise 4: Difficulty in Prosecuting Cases of Trafficking in Persons
Ranya Boonmee Case
The victims were exploited in a shrimp-processing factory. The prosecution presented as evidence, photographs of the shrimp factory, which showed that it was surrounded by a sixteen foot high barbed wire capped wall. The photographs also showed the housing in which the victims lived and that this housing was inside the walls.
However, while the trial court convicted the defendants, the court of appeals exonerated them on the basis of inconsistencies in the alleged victims' testimonies and the testimony of similarly situated workers who claimed they had not been forced to live on site.
The charges were of accepting and retaining workers illegally, including those under the age of 15 and 18 years old for the purposes of enslavement and compelling them to work under slavery-like conditions.
UNODC, Evidential Issues in Trafficking in Persons Cases - Case Digest (2017), page 44
Proposed question for discussion:
The case illustrates the difficulties in prosecuting cases of human trafficking. In your judgement, what are the reasons behind this difficulty and how can they be overcome?
Exercise 5: The Role of Public Authorities in Investigating Cases of Trafficking in Persons
I left Nigeria at the age of 17. I was completely alone and had no prospects at all. Some guy called Ben said he knew people in Europe and could help me find work. He offered to pay for my trip - 25,000 Euros. We were going to leave for Europe from Libya, but once I had arrived there I realized that Ben had lied to me. He showed his true face. He threatened to hand me over to someone else and leave me behind if I didn't do as he said. Then he raped me. I wasn't the only one. I was held in Libya for months in a house with not enough food and cut off from everyone. I wanted to flee, but I had nothing; no phone, no money. I didn't even know where I could have escaped to. When we finally got on a boat to Italy we had to be rescued by the Italian coast guard. From another girl I heard I was going to have to work as a prostitute. When I told the authorities at the reception centre my story, they placed me in a safe house for victims of sex trafficking. But now the people who paid for my journey back home are threatening my mother, asking for their money back. They told her I ran away, that she has to pay them back. If she doesn't, they say, they will curse me so I get deported. My life is still terrible. I feel like I'm in prison. The only place I'll ever be in is this room. I've been abandoned here and I can't tell anyone what's inside me. I'm so confused. I can't focus. I just want to be free.
Proposed questions for discussion
As a prosecutor, and based upon Mary's testimony, how would you build a case of trafficking in persons and present it in court? Consider the elements of the crime, possible aggravating or attenuating circumstances, modes of liability, assistance and protection to victims. Where the information in the text is not sufficient, details may be added.
Next: Possible class structure