States’ Positive Obligations with Respect to Human Trafficking: The European Court of Human Rights Breaks New Ground in Rantsev v. Cyprus & Russia

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Boston University International Law Journal


This article analyzes the European Court of Human Rights’ landmark decision in Rantsev v. Cyprus and the consequences it might engender in the field of human trafficking. In this case, the Court expanded its previous definition of slavery - the classic paradigm of the treatment of human beings as items of property law - to also encompass any or all features attached to the right of ownership, situations of absolute control of one person over another induced through force, fear or coercion – the paradigm of human trafficking. It also puts forth a discussion of the past efforts at addressing this problem and develops recommendations based on a holistic human rights-oriented approach to state duties in the field of human trafficking.

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Spring 2011