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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: January 2011

3 - Specific Legal Issues


This chapter seeks to further explore and explain the international legal framework around trafficking by identifying a series of legal issues of special relevance to current debates and practice and subjecting each to detailed analysis. The issues selected are not exhaustive, and many others are raised at various points throughout this book.


The position of noncitizens or “non-nationals” (including stateless persons) under international law is of particular relevance to an assessment of the rights of trafficked persons and the duties owed to them by States. Except in cases of internal trafficking, the most serious violations committed against a trafficked person will almost invariably take place outside the victim's country of residence or citizenship. This is not to deny the reality of substantive violations occurring during the recruitment and initial transportation phases. However, the purpose of that recruitment and transport is exploitation; it is for this reason that the country of destination is an especially dangerous one for trafficked persons and their rights. It is also the place where these rights often can be most effectively protected. Trafficked persons outside their usual country of residence may fall into a particular category of noncitizen (such as refugee, asylum-seeker, or migrant worker). This categorization, like the status of being a trafficked person, may operate to alter the nature of the rights to which they are entitled and the obligations owed to them.

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