Human Trafficking and the Emergence of the Non-Punishment Principle

Ryszard Piotrowicz, Liliana Sorrentino

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The article outlines the emergence of the non-punishment principle with regard to victims of human trafficking: that people who commit offences in the course, or as a consequence, of being trafficked should not be held criminally accountable because they have been compelled to do so. It is argued that this principle is grounded in recognition of the human rights of trafficked people. The article traces the emergence of the principle in human rights law as well as soft law, and discusses its scope. State practice and recent British cases are considered. It is shown that, while there are difficult issues concerning the scope of the principle, it is becoming increasingly recognised in the field of human trafficking.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)669-699
Number of pages31
JournalHuman Rights Law Review
Issue number4
Early online date10 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2016


  • human trafficking,
  • non-punishment principle,
  • human rights


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