Trafficking prosecutions difficult and costly to all involved
Launch of Issue 6 of the Anti-Trafficking Review 'Prosecuting Human Trafficking', guest edited by Anne T. Gallagher
- What are the implications of linking protection and prosecution, for example, by offering trafficked persons temporary residence and work permits if they cooperate with the authorities in the destination country? Is the 'reflection period' always beneficial for the trafficked person, or can it have unintended negative consequences for that person's future?
- How do social perceptions and cultural narratives around what is 'trafficking' shape national policy and influence the way in which trafficking crimes are identified and prosecuted?
- What factors come into play when a prosecutor exercises his or her discretion in deciding to bring a human trafficking case to trial, or to pursue a lesser charge, or to not to proceed at all? What can be the consequences for a trafficking prosecution when the victim has been arrested and charged with prostitution?
- How do trafficked persons themselves experience inevitably lengthy and sometimes traumatic criminal proceedings?
- How is our understanding of what constitutes 'trafficking' being shaped - and sometimes challenged - by national courts' interpretation and application of the internationally agreed definition?
In the Debate Section of this issue, nine authors take sides to defend or reject the proposition: 'Prosecuting trafficking deflects attention from much more important responses and is anyway a waste of time and money'. While there is considerable diversity in views among contributors, most authors argue around one of two central ideas: failure to prosecute trafficking effectively makes a mockery of criminalisation and ensures the cycle of exploitation will continue unchecked; and, prosecutions that ignore the rights and needs of victims are hollow victories that will never deliver true justice.