Table of Contents

Research Handbook on EU Criminal Law

Research Handbook on EU Criminal Law

Research Handbooks in European Law series

Edited by Valsamis Mitsilegas, Maria Bergström and Theodore Konstadinides

EU criminal law is one of the fastest evolving, but also challenging, policy areas and fields of law. This Handbook provides a comprehensive and advanced analysis of EU criminal law as a structurally and constitutionally unique policy area and field of research. With contributions from leading experts, focusing on their respective fields of research, the book is preoccupied with defining cross-border or ‘Euro-crimes’, while allowing Member States to sanction criminal behaviour through mutual cooperation. It contains a web of institutions, agencies, and external liaisons, which ensure the protection of EU citizens from serious crime, while protecting the fundamental rights of suspects and criminals.

Chapter 20: Evolution of the EU action against trafficking of human beings

Tom Obokata

Subjects: law - academic, criminal law and justice, european law


The purpose of this chapter is to explore the evolution of the EU measures against human trafficking and analyse the extent to which the EU and Member States have been successful in promoting concerted and effective actions. It begins with an illustration of the past EU action with particular reference to the Council Framework Decision 2002/639/JHA on combating trafficking in human beings adopted in 2002 under the Treaty on European Union as revised by the Treaty of Amsterdam. The chapter examines how approximation of national criminal laws and procedures among Member States, the key principle behind this instrument, was achieved by Member States. In so doing, the chapter looks at the common definition of trafficking and minimum rules relating to the punishment regimes and protection of victims. It then analyses the present action being implemented under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. In this regard, the chapter compares and contrasts Directive 2011/36/EU on human trafficking adopted in 2011 with the 2002 Framework Directive in order to measure the extent of evolution. The main conclusion reached is that, while the EU and Member States have been taking a leadership role in promoting and implementing various measures against human trafficking, achieving a level of approximation has proven to be difficult due to state sovereignty as well as political, cultural and social differences.

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