Permanent Residency for Human Trafficking Victims in Europe: The Potential Use of Article 3 of the European Convention as a Means of Protection

By:

Dorsey & Whitney Student Writing Prize in Comparative and International Law Outstanding Note Award Winner

The cross-border trafficking of human beings is a massive criminal enterprise, which has devastating effects on its victims. Even after they manage to escape their traffickers, these victims are often returned to their home countries, only to find themselves shunned by family and friends, shut out from society and at significant risk of being re-trafficked. Yet despite the dire situations awaiting them in their home countries, and a fervent desire to gain asylum in their destination countries, most victims are swiftly deported under domestic laws that continue to prioritize border control over these victims’ human rights. This Note argues that unlike many countries’ domestic laws, Article 3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms offers a potentially valuable, though underutilized means of protection, and a way for victims trafficked into Europe to avoid deportation.