The 2000 Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations (UN) Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, is a noteworthy achievement and, crucially, provides the first internationally agreed definition of the human trafficking. However, it fails to provide clarity as to the exact scope and meaning of exploitation. Instead, it provides an open-ended list of forms of exploitation that “at a minimum” amount to exploitation. The international definition’s preference for an enumerative approach has subsequently been replicated in most regional and domestic legal instruments.
In the absence of a clear definition of exploitation, it is difficult to draw the line between labour exploitation in terms of violations of labour rights and extreme forms of exploitation such as those listed in the UN Protocol; namely, forced or compulsory labour, practices similar to slavery and slavery. This book addresses this legal gap by seeking to conceptualise labour exploitation in criminal law.
The book uses exploitation theory to understand its application in law. The legal and theoretical analysis of exploitation first identifies the foundational elements of exploitation and then applies them to a comparative, empirical, domestic criminal case law analysis of two European national legal orders: Belgium and England & Wales. The book concludes with a proposition for a legal conceptualisation of labour exploitation that identifies the necessary and sufficient conditions that are required to determine whether or not the involuntary provision of work or services amounts to labour exploitation.
The book’s presentation of an evidence-based conceptualisation of labour exploitation is not only of added value for scholars but also for legal practitioners, policy makers and civil society representatives who are required to interpret and apply human trafficking law policy and practice in order to determine the existence (or not) of exploitative working conditions.
AMY WEATHERBURN is Scientific Collaborator FRS-FNRS at the Université Libre de Bruxelles and Doctor of Law (VUB & Tilburg, 2019). Her research focuses on the normalization of tolerated exploitation in the labour market and the need to develop a prevention policy of exploitation that goes beyond criminal law. Her main research areas are human trafficking, migration and fundamental rights. She has published her work in collective works and international journals. Between 2015 and 2020, she was a doctoral student, then postdoctoral researcher at the VUB where she worked on several European funded research projects, and where she led the Belgian national research for the multidisciplinary research network of the European Union Agency of Fundamental Rights (FRANET). From September 2019 – August 2020, Amy was seconded to INTERVICT of Tilburg University where she will be co-coordinator of the Master Programme Victimology and Criminal Justice (MSc). Previously, she was a researcher at the Human Rights Law Centre at the University of Nottingham (2012-2014).
The Human Rights Research Series’ central research theme is the nature and meaning of international standards in the field of human rights, their application and promotion in the national legal order, their interplay with national standards, and the international supervision of such application. Anyone directly involved in the definition, study, implementation, monitoring, or enforcement of human rights will find this series an indispensable reference tool.
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Editorial Board: Prof. dr. Antoine Buyse (Utrecht University), Prof. dr. Fons Coomans (Maastricht University), Prof. dr. Yvonne Donders (Chair - University of Amsterdam), Dr. Antenor Hallo de Wolf (University of Groningen), Prof. dr. Kristin Henrard (Erasmus University Rotterdam), Prof. dr. Nicola Jägers (Tilburg University), Prof. Titia Loenen (Leiden University) Prof. dr. Janne Nijman (T.M.C. Asser Instituut) and Prof. dr. Brigit Toebes (University of Groningen).
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