Elliott, Jessica Christine (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
The most recent international legal definition of „trafficking in humans‟ is provided within Article 3 of the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, and is reproduced verbatim in Article 4 of the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings, and almost verbatim in Article 2 of the recent Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims, 2011. This definition has taken significant and at times controversial steps in clarifying what human trafficking is in a legal sense. The definition is comprised of three elements – the „action‟, „means‟ and „purpose‟, all of which must be present in order for the activity in question to constitute human trafficking. The definition goes on to state that consent is irrelevant where any of the listed „means‟ such as force or coercion have been employed by the trafficker(s). The „lack of consent‟ element has the potential to be problematic, due to the elasticity of the notion of consent. If it is to be accepted that consent (or lack thereof) is relevant in the context of human trafficking – and therefore sexual exploitation – then this renders it difficult to determine who are, and who are not, victims of human trafficking, and leaves those who have „consented‟ in a state of limbo – they have been less than trafficked, but more than smuggled. This thesis aims to explore the nature and role of consent in the transnational trade in women for sexual exploitation, and what the ramifications of inclusion of this controversial element are for the putative victims.
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