Women and Justice: Keywords

Domestic Case Law

Frudenthal v. Israel Supreme Court (sitting as the Court of Criminal Appeals) (2003)

Gender-based violence in general, Sexual violence and rape, Trafficking in persons

The appellant appeals his conviction for trafficking in persons for the purposes of prostitution in violation of Penal Law sec. 203A(a), pimping for prostitution, and threats and false imprisonment.  The appellants’ two co-conspirators reached plea agreements with prosecutors.  The appellant generally admits the underlying facts of the case, but argues on appeal that these facts do not amount to trafficking in persons but rather pimping for prostitution, which has a lower sentence.  The appellant “acquired” the two complainants in November of 2001 and brought them to a facility in Tel Aviv operated by the first co-conspirator for the purpose of employing them as prostitutes. Appellant “imprisoned the complainants in the facility, took their passports, and abused them physically.” The first co-conspirator supervised the complainants, forced them to work as prostitutes, and collected fees. In or around February 2002, the first co-conspirator transferred the complainants to the custody and supervision of the appellant. The appellant housed the complainants in his apartment and managed all aspects of their work as prostitutes, from arranging clients to fee collection. The appellant made each complainant pay him part of her profits for food and rent.  The complainants were not allowed to leave the apartment without the appellant’s permission and supervision.  The appellant argued that the lower court erred by not applying a narrow definition of “purchase” as used in property law.  The Supreme Court held that section 203A(a) prohibits any deal intended to create a property relationship in which a person acquires rights in another human being. The meaning of the phrases “sale and purchase” in section 203A(a) refer to any deal, in exchange for any consideration, that grants a person any kind of property right in another human being who serves as the object of the deal. It is immaterial whether the business arrangement is under the guise of ownership, rental, borrowing, partnership, or any other means of creating a property interest in a person. The Court held that the appellant’s actions clearly constituted a business arrangement that created a property interest in a human being and that, therefore, these circumstances met the legal criteria for the crime of trafficking in persons. 



HKSAR v. Cheng Kwong-Chung Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Court of Appeal (2001)

Trafficking in persons

Cheng Kwong-Chung was charged with four offenses. Wong Lai-Ming was charged with two offenses. Cheng’s first and third charges alleged conspiracy to possess a false instrument, contrary to section 75(1) and section 159A of the Crimes Ordinance, Cap. 200. Count 1 alleged that Cheng conspired with other defendants to possess a false passport, which he knew was false. Cheng and Wong also allegedly conspired to provide Lu Quifeng to enable her to possess a false US passport with knowledge that it was false. Several other fraud charges were brought. The prosecution alleged that Lu and another defendant were to be smuggled from Hong Kong to the US. Neither Cheng nor Wong presented any evidence at trial. Cheng appealed, arguing that the verdicts were unsatisfactory and against the great weight of the evidence. The Court held that there was “an abundance of evidence on which to convict” of both conspiracies in counts one and four, citing evidence adduced and presented at trial. Cheng also argued that there was insufficient evidence for the trial court judge to find that the instrument that was the subject of charge one was false. The Court also held that the trial court judge’s conclusion that whatever passport Cheng held must have been false was not erroneous. Cheng’s appeal was dismissed. Wong also appealed, arguing that the trial judge had insufficient evidence upon which to find that it was in fact Wong who committed the crime. The Court held that there was no ground upon which to disturb the trial judge’s conviction. The evidence against Wong included standard procedures from airline employee’s standard procedure of matching passports against the person who presents it and the fact that Wong never reported her passport lost or stolen. Cheng and Lu appealed their sentences as manifestly excessive because their offenses were part of one course of conduct. The Court held that the course of conduct was sophisticated and, further, stated, “We take the view that offences such as these are very serious. They involve the exploitation of persons on the Mainland, for substantial sums, exploitation which is no doubt financially crippling to the emigrant and his or her family and which puts the emigrant at continuing risk. Beyond that and importantly, the offences deliberately seek not only to undermine Hong Kong’s laws but also the immigration laws of other jurisdictions and to enable persons to travel on aircraft when they are not authorized to do so. It hardly needs to be emphasized that conduct of this kind is to be treated by our courts with a firm hand, not least when air security and international immigration controls carry an importance greater than ever before.”



Bachpan Bachao Andolan v. Union of India & Others Supreme Court of India (2011)

Trafficking in persons

Children’s’ rights, child labor, forced labor, human trafficking, sexual abuse. Bachpan Bachao Andolan, a non-governmental organization in India submitted a petition to the Supreme Court of India to take action against the use of child performers in India’s traveling circuses. A study found that children were being trafficked from Nepal or taken from their homes, exploited as child laborers in these circuses, and subjected to mental, physical, and sexual abuse. In recognition that this practice was in violation of child labor laws and regulations on a child’s right to an education, among other national and international statutes, the Supreme Court gave an order to prohibit the employment of children in circuses, raid circuses to free children, and establish rehabilitation schemes for the child victims. This case is an important victory for children’s rights in India, where parents often sell their children to work at a young age, and also displays the willingness of the Supreme Court of India to hear petitions from NGOs, offering an important avenue for human rights reform.



International Case Law

M. and Others v. Italy and Bulgaria European Court of Human Rights (2012)

Sexual violence and rape

In May 2003, a Roma family with Bulgarian nationality traveled to Italy with a promise of work in a villa. M.’s parents alleged that they were threatened and forced to return to Bulgaria, leaving M.—their 17 year old daughter—in the villa, where she was raped and beaten. M.’s mother returned to Italy on 24 May and reported to the police that her daughter had been kidnapped. M. was rescued from the villa seventeen days later, on 11 June 2003. No criminal proceedings were taken against M.’s kidnapper but the police instituted proceedings against M.’s parents for perjury and libel, believing that the accusations of kidnapping were untrue and that M.’s parents had contracted to marry M. to the alleged kidnapper for a sum of money. The European Court of Human Rights found a violation of Article 3—prohibition of ill-treatment—in the investigation of rape and beating by the Italian authorities, which it ruled was ineffective. The Court found no violation of Article 3, however, in the steps taken by the police to secure the release of M.



Somprasad Paneru and Others v. Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers and Others Supreme Court of Nepal (2006)

Trafficking in persons

Citing reports that a traditional custom called Kamlari sends over 10,000 children between the ages of 7 and 8 into servitude for wealthy households or small businesses, a petition called for new controls on this practice which is against both Nepalese constitutional law and the Convention on Rights of the Child, 1989 (CRC). The Court ordered the Government of Nepal to frame laws to abolish Kamlari and ensure protection of affected children. In addition, the Court called on the government to develop comprehensive legislation addressing the underlying issues that perpetuate such harmful practices, such as education and employment, especially amongst girls and women. By rooting out the base causes for harmful traditional practices, the Supreme Court of Nepal showed a crucial willingness to identify and address the societal problems driving harmful practices, providing hope for real change in women’s and human rights.



Memoranda

Anti-Human Trafficking Legislation in Tanzania and 6 Countries Around the World (2013)

Gender-based violence in general, Trafficking in persons

In 2008, Tanzania adopted the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act (ATPA) to combat human trafficking, mandate stricter investigation and prosecution, and afford protection to victims of trafficking. This report: explains and evaluates the ATPA, including the effectiveness of its implementation since its enactment in 2008; describes similar acts around the world, including an evaluation of those laws’ implementation and effectiveness; offers specific recommendations for Tanzania to enhance the effectiveness of its anti-trafficking law.