MONDAY, 4 October 
What’s in the law? Legal issues in Trafficking in Persons  


The session was dedicated to a discussion on the uncertainties that exist in anti-human trafficking legal framework and the remaining legal challenges that hamper the national and international implementation. The discussion provided insights on successful strategies and tools that have been developed to clarify the law and showcase areas where legal uncertainties remain. The first speaker, Joseph Lelliott, recalled and analyzed the contour and definition of TIP and emphasized the significance of having a clear definition of TIP. He further introduced some key observations and findings on the concept of harbouring within the international legal definition and how this concept is understood in different countries around the world. The second speaker, Fiona Atupele Mwale, who serves as a judge at the High Court of Malawi, delivered a presentation on the judicial leadership in implementing the legal provisions against TIPs from the perspective of Malawi. She stressed the importance of applying innovative approaches that involve different dimensions of considerations, such as social, cultural and gender in the judicial process adjudicating TIP cases. The last speaker, Matthew Taylor, spoke of the current challenges for national authorities and the efforts of UNODC to develop tools to combat TIP. He named three challenges, namely the variations in the definition of TIP and its constituent elements, the application of non-punishment principle at national level, as well as the difficulties of applying a victim-centred approach to investigations and prosecutions. In the later Q&A, the experts also briefly touched upon the issue of the balance between the deliberate fluidity and clarity of the definition of TIP in the Protocol, the efforts of UNODC to help practitioners to grabble the crime in practice, the different standards to be applied in different contexts addressing TIP, and the need to ensure meaningful prosecution.

Time: 14:00 (CET)

Link to the Meeting: Link to TEAMS Meeting

Panelists :

Joseph Lelliott, Criminal Law Scholar, University of Queensland’s School of Law

Fiona Atupele Mwale, Judge at the High Court of Malawi 

Matthew Taylor, General Counsel and Director, Criminal Law Policy Section of the Department of Justice Canada 

Moderating: Morgane Nicot, Team Leader Knowledge Development and Innovation, HTMSS, UNODC


The meeting recording :