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THE PROTECTION OF EUROPEAN UNION CITIZENS VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN EUROPE

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On February 2015, Eurostat issued a report highlighting that 65% of registered victims of human trafficking in Europe between 2010 and 2012 were citizens of the European Union (EU). Despite the seriousness of this phenomenon, EU citizens who are victims of trafficking are afforded little protection in the European legal space. First, the multi-level legal framework against trafficking applicable on the Union territory does not recognise clear residence rights to this group. Second, the general freedom of movement granted to all EU citizens under Directive 2004/38 might be precluded to victims of trafficking due to the economic prerequisites required by this instrument. It follows that the granting of refugee status to EU citizens who are victims of trafficking becomes a crucial source of protection. The safe country presumption in force between EU Member States under the so-called Aznar Protocol, however, precludes access to international protection for this group. This article critically reviews the Common European Asylum System, in search of normative and judicial interpretations capable of ensuring a stronger protection of EU citizens who are victims of trafficking. In this context, a special focus is devoted to the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights and of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

10.1163/22116133-90000111
/content/journals/10.1163/22116133-90000111
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/content/journals/10.1163/22116133-90000111
2016-10-18
2016-12-09

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