This module is a resource for lecturers


This section contains material that is meant to support lecturers and provide ideas for interactive discussions and case-based analysis of the topic under consideration.

Exercise 1: What is Trafficking?

These questions are intended as an "ice-breaker" and "attention-catcher". Students will likely respond intuitively. Throughout this and subsequent Modules of the E4J University Module Series on trafficking in persons, students should have the opportunity to re-assess the responses.

Proposed questions for discussion

  • What do you understand by trafficking in persons? In other words, what conduct do you consider to be so much the 'wrong thing', unethical, immoral, so as to be labelled and punished as the crime of trafficking?
  • Why do you believe criminals engage in trafficking?
  • Why is trafficking on the increase in your view?
  • What do you conceive of as important measures to address trafficking?

Exercise 2: Profile of traffickers

Proposed questions for discussion

  • What sort of people do you imagine become traffickers?
  • What life experiences are they likely to have had to lose their empathy and respect for other people?
  • In your view, is it more likely that victims will be trafficked by people of the same or different nationality, ethnicity or religion?
  • Do you believe it is possible to discourage traffickers from continuing their criminal activities by education or awareness-raising/media campaigns?

Exercise 3: Student country profile

Proposed questions for discussion

In small groups or in the context of an open debate, students should discuss the trafficking profile of their country (or other countries of relevance, e.g. neighbouring States). The exercise should focus inter alia on:

  • whether their country is one of origin, transit, and or destination;
  • linkages between the identified countries of origin, transit and destination;
  • specific root causes and indirect driving factors of trafficking in the country and or region;
  • effects of trafficking in countries of origin and destination, focusing on the respective national realities;
  • whether their country is making reasonable attempts to comply with its obligations under the Protocol.

Exercise 4: Link between corruption and trafficking in persons

Proposed questions for discussion

  • What is the role of corruption in the trafficking sector?
  • How can corruption by State officials facilitate trafficking?
  • How can trafficking fuel State corruption?
  • Overall, is corruption an enabler of trafficking or is trafficking an enabler of corruption? Or do they fuel one another?
  • Do you imagine corruption to occur in most instances of trafficking or would it be an uncommon occurrence?

Additional information on organized crime is available in the University Module Series on Anti-Corruption.

Exercise 5: Organized crime

Review the case summary for Operation Golf (see Box 4). Additional information on organized crime is available in the Teaching Module Series on Organized Crime.

Proposed questions for discussion

  • Do you consider the case to constitute an instance of trafficking? Justify your answer, considering inter alia the means* used and the forms of exploitation. [* although for child trafficking no means are required]
  • What elements of the case suggest that the perpetrators were part of an organized criminal group?
  • Would the same scenario constitute a crime of trafficking under your country's national law?
  • Does the fact that the parents of the children might have consented to them being taken abroad and coerced to beg or steal influence your determination as to whether trafficking has occurred in this case?

Exercise 6: Consent

The following are the facts of a case that was decided in Egyptian courts and is cited in the SHERLOC Case Law Database on TIP:

A number of the defendants colluded to arrange for false marriages between young girls, some of whom were minors, in difficult economic circumstances, and men from the Gulf States, in order to arrange for them to have sexual services under the guise of the marriage contracts.

One of the defendants was a lawyer who was in charge of drafting these contracts. Another was responsible for constructing an artificial hymen for the victims so that they appeared to be virgins, in order for them to attract new customers for higher pay. Two of the defendants prepared private apartments for the purpose of offering the sexual services (provided by the victims). Three of the defendants were parents of the victims who facilitated their daughters' engagement with the men from the Gulf States in consideration for financial gain.

The defendants were arrested by the police. Article 2 of the Egyptian Law on Combating Human Trafficking No. 64 of 2010 provides that

"A person who commits the crime of human trafficking shall be considered One who deals in any manner in a natural person, including: the sale, offer for sale, purchase, or promise thereof, or the use, transport, delivery, harbouring, reception, or receipt, whether within the country or across its national borders, if this occurred through the use of force, violence, or threat thereof, or through abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power, or exploitation of a position of vulnerability or need, or through a promise to give or receive payments or benefits in exchange for obtaining the consent of a person to traffic another having control over him, or if the purpose of the transaction was exploitation in any of its forms, including: exploitation of acts of prostitution and all forms of sexual exploitation, exploitation of children in such acts and in pornography, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery or servitude, or begging or removal of human organs, tissues or a part thereof."

The victims had the knowledge that they would be called upon to perform sexual services to men from the Gulf States.

Proposed questions for discussion

  • In your view, do the facts in this case constitute the crime of human trafficking in accordance with the Egyptian Law on Combating Human Trafficking No. 64 of 2010?
  • Is consent a defence that could be raised in this case?

Exercise 7: Trafficking in persons and terrorism

The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2250 of 2015 " expressing concern over the increased use, in a globalized society, by terrorists and their supporters of new information and communication technologies, in particular the Internet, for the purposes of recruitment and incitement of youth to commit terrorist acts, as well as for the financing, planning and preparation of their activities, and underlining the need for Member States to act cooperatively to prevent terrorists from exploiting technology, communications and resources to incite support for terrorist acts, while respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms and in compliance with other obligations under international law".

Proposed questions for discussion

  • Is recruitment and incitement of youth to commit terrorist acts a form of human trafficking under
    • the Protocol?
    • your national trafficking in persons law?
    • In your opinion, should it be?
    • Alternatively, should such conduct be better addressed under laws focused on countering terrorism?
  • How should a law on combating human trafficking address the use of new information and communication technologies, in particular the Internet?

Exercise 8: Exploitation

Students should be divided in small groups, with each one being given one of the Sections of UNODC's The Concept of 'Exploitation' in the Trafficking in Persons Protocol dedicated to the different forms of exploitation under the Protocol (pp. 27-38). The groups should be given 10-15 minutes to address the readings, following which they will present to the class a short analysis of the assigned form of exploitation. The lecturer should endeavour to address other possible forms of exploitation not enshrined in the Protocol (e.g. forced marriage, begging, use of victims in criminal activities, conscription into armed forces, mandatory labour for prison inmates).

Exercise 9: Trafficking for labour exploitation

Students should review the summary of the Greece case study: The 'Manolada' case (EL-002) and search for more details of this and similar cases in their own country.

Proposed questions for discussion

  • Discuss the finding of the court. Do you agree with it and why?

Exercise 10: Trafficking and slavery

Article 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights provides that " 1. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude. 2. No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour."

According to the European Court on Human Rights in the landmark case of Rantsev v Cyprus and Russia of 2010 " The absence of an express reference to trafficking in the Convention is unsurprising. The Convention was inspired by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948, which itself made no express mention of trafficking. In its Article 4, the Declaration prohibited "slavery and the slave trade in all their forms. However, in assessing the scope of Article 4 of the Convention, sight should not be lost of the Convention's special features or of the fact that it is a living instrument which must be interpreted in the light of present- day conditions..."

The Court went on to clarify that it " considers that trafficking in human beings, by its very nature and aim of exploitation, is based on the exercise of powers attaching to the right of ownership. It treats human beings as commodities to be bought and sold and put to forced labour, often for little or no payment, usually in the sex industry but also elsewhere ...It implies close surveillance of the activities of the victims, whose movement are often circumscribed... It involves the use of violence and threats against victims, who live and work under poor conditions..."

The Court concluded that "There can be no doubt that trafficking threatens the human dignity and fundamental freedoms of its victims and cannot be considered compatible with a democratic society and the values expounded in the Convention. In view of its obligation to interpret the Convention in light of present-day conditions, the Court considers it unnecessary to identify whether the treatment about which the applicant complains constitutes "slavery ", "servitude ", or ' forced and compulsory Labour." Instead, The Court concludes that trafficking itself, within the meaning of Article 3 (a) of the Palermo Protocol and Article 4(a) of the Anti-Trafficking Convention, falls within the scope of Article 4 of the Convention."

Proposed question for discussion

  • In your opinion, and after reading the judgement of the court, do you think that the European Court of Human Rights defined human trafficking as a form of slavery?
  • What do you believe the Court meant by its finding that the "Convention is a living instrument"?
  • How does that reconcile with the requirement of certainty in the criminal law?
Next: Possible class structure
Back to top