The fight against trafficking in human beings in EU: promoting legal cooperation and victims' protection

1 de agosto de 2011 a 22 de abril de 2014
33 meses

The aims of this project are: (1) to understand the specificities of sex and labour trafficking in human being (THB); (2) to analyse the impact of THB on legislation; (3) to compare the legal tools as well as the judicial cooperation strategies implemented by European countries through an analytical approach that identifies discrepancies and similarities between different legal frameworks; (5) to analyse repressive solutions adopted by states; (6) to examine the integration of cooperation mechanisms into national plans and programs for the transnational coordination of law enforcement agents; (7) to compare country-specific practices in the fight against THB, more specifically to compare investigation and prosecution practices as well as obstacles encountered along the way; (8) to identify the level of protection and support afforded to victims before, during and after criminal proceedings; (9) to reflect on some of the measures described as best practices in the domain of cooperation; (10) to promote workshops with experts, judges, prosecutors and law enforcement agents with a view to sharing experiences within a multilateral cooperation framework; (11) to test guidelines for the harmonisation of legal and judicial cooperation; (12) to promote the training of legal and other actors within this field.
Sex and labour trafficking were selected as case studies for two main reasons. First, the definition of sex trafficking is still rather imprecise, mainly as a result of preconceived ideas. This problem has practical consequences for criminal investigations and well as for the identification and protection of victims. Second, trafficking for the purposes of labour exploitation is still a poorly known phenomenon and has only recently been recognised as a crime in the legislation of several countries. Previous studies have shown that many trafficking routes are common, involving the same countries of origin and destination. Moreover, especially when the victims of trafficking are women, they are exploited for both labour and sexual purposes, although these two forms of exploitation may occur in different phases of their lives.
The project, lasting two years, will use both quantitative and qualitative research methods, including all of the following: collection and analysis of relevant bibliography, national legislation, as well as documents produced by European and international institutions; data collection on THB in all participating country; press analysis; interviews, focus groups; implementation of a survey in all participating countries; organisation of regular workshops to develop cooperation and coordination strategies.
The members of the research team are particularly qualified for the study of THB, as they have long-standing experience in this field as well as in conducting national and European studies. The results of the project will be disseminated through publications, a website, a conference, and the production of training guidelines.


A book, 4 scientific articles, 1 website, 4 workshops, 1 handbook with training guidelines and a final international conference are part of the planned outputs. We expect to contribute to a better understanding of criminal proceedings in different countries and of their adequacy to national legislations and international law. We also expect to identify the main factors that hinder efficiency in criminal investigations and victims‟ and witnesses‟ protection. The activities planned for this project will help us design training programme guidelines, which will in turn foster a better understanding of the crime of labour trafficking, promote a stronger European cooperation in this filed, and help debunk misconceptions and stereotypes associated with sex trafficking. This project can also help achieve more effective intervention strategies in the legal and judicial spheres and in the protection and help afforded to victims.


Centro de Estudos Sociais - Portugal (Coord.)

Institute of Public Affairs - Poland

University of Oradea, Research Centre on Identity and Migration Issues (RCIMI) - Romenia

Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore - Transcrime - Italy

ULB-Perelman Centre for Legal Philosophy - Belgium

Associated Partners:

Universidade Carlos III de Madrid

DGAI-OTSH (Observatório de Tráfico de Seres Humanos)


Ana Oliveira
Boaventura de Sousa Santos (coord)
Conceição Gomes
Edgardo Rodríguez Gómez
Élida Lauris
Fátima de Sousa
Madalena Duarte
Marina Henriques
Raoní Beltrão do Vale
Tiago Ribeiro
trafficking in human beings, human rights, criminal law, exploitation
Comissão Europeia