Harmonizing National Laws on Human Trafficking by Implementing Article 3 of the Palermo Protocol : Problems and Reform

Abstract: Trafficking in human beings is one of the most serious and acute problems of our time. It is seen as one of the main forms of organized crime as well as a modern form of slavery. Trafficking is a practice that affects entire societies or rather the very fabric of democratic societies. It undermines the foundations of liberal democracies by violating principles of integrity and human dignity. The crime also leads to loss of human capital, drives organized crime, fuels political corruption, and causes the spread of HIV and other venereal diseases.Although the practice has been addressed in international law and numerous states have criminalized it, the problem not only persists but also seems to be growing. The main question posed in this thesis is why, despite the scope of the crime and the international efforts in this area, there are so few trafficking convictions worldwide.The thesis attempts to answer this question by evaluating the international definition of trafficking, as stated in Article 3 of the Palermo Protocol, by means of which national laws in this area are harmonized and by putting those findings in context by discussing the implications that this definition has had on national laws in Sweden, Poland and Russia, a novel approach in the study of trafficking.The findings can be divided into two categories. Firstly, there are challenges that are country-specific. Secondly, there are certain problems that are experienced by all three countries. As will be shown, these are attributable to the wording of the international definition of trafficking. Building on the findings mentioned above, recommendations are made on how the international definition of trafficking might be improved. The suggestions range from simple to more far-reaching reforms, concluding with a proposal on how a trafficking provision might be framed. 

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