versión en español

Launch of Issue 6 of the Anti-Trafficking Review 'Prosecuting Human Trafficking', guest edited by Anne T. Gallagher  

Prosecuting human trafficking is widely viewed as one of the main pillars of an effective national response to trafficking. But worldwide, the number of prosecutions for trafficking and related exploitation remains stubbornly low, especially when compared to the generally accepted size of the problem. Very few traffickers are ever brought to justice and the criminal justice system rarely operates to benefit those who have been trafficked. 
Issue 6 of the Anti-Trafficking Review analyses human trafficking prosecutions in different regions of the world and from a range of different perspectives. With five themed articles focusing on Russia, the United States, the Balkans and Western Europe, the issue provides important insights into the practical and policy issues surrounding human trafficking prosecutions. Questions addressed in the articles include:
  • 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.

View the new issue at 
Published by the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women, the Anti-Trafficking Review is a peer-reviewed academic journal that promotes a human rights based approach to anti-trafficking, and offers a space for dialogue for those seeking to communicate new ideas and findings. The journal is an open source publication with a readership in over 100 countries.