The Global Problem of Sex Trafficking in Women A Comparative Legal Analysis of International, European, and National Responses
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There has been a flurry of legislative action at the international and regional levels to address the global problem of trafficking in persons, which victimises epidemic-proportions of individuals and generates one of the largest proceeds of organised crime. The harmonisation of national legal responses based on minimum standards around prevention, prosecution, and protection as espoused by those international and regional instruments is a prerequisite for effective and wide cooperation among countries of origin, transit, and destination. However, the reluctance of states to lift to the lofty heights of international consensus the contentious policy issues surrounding trafficking, including prostitution, has resulted in the adoption of rather ambiguous anti-trafficking norms and obligations, which allow states to individually determine what constitutes ‘trafficking in persons’ within their own jurisdictions. The subsequent divergence in national responses reveals that legal harmonisation has not taken place. The mechanisms of enforcement, which attach directly or indirectly to those international and regional instruments, therefore, have the formidable task of assisting states in the implementation of the substantive content of anti-trafficking norms and obligations through their monitoring and reporting mandates. However, their work remains a neglected area of academic research, compared to writings on the ambiguity of the international anti-trafficking framework. The challenge to international regulation of the trafficking problem, as identified in this thesis, relates on a fundamental level to the systemic limitations of the formal processes of law based on state consent and respect for the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity. Through a comparative legal analysis of international and European legal responses to sex trafficking in women, this thesis illuminates the main systemic challenges to combating trafficking in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, the Netherlands, Romania, and Sweden, and how the work of those enforcement mechanisms remedies some of those challenges.
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