Global Migration Lecture Series
Prof. Ryszard Piotrowicz

Human Trafficking and the Fallacy of Human Rights Violations

Prof. Ryszard Piotrowicz
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Online webinar


Speaker: Prof. Ryszard Piotrowicz, Professor of Law at Aberystwyth University

Moderator: Prof. Vincent Chetail, Director of the Global Migration Centre

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Human Trafficking and the Fallacy of Human Rights Violations


This webinar will briefly explain what actually happens when someone is trafficked. It discusses the legal definition of human trafficking and distinguishes it from people smuggling, with which it is often confused. The core of the talk will be a discussion about why human trafficking is not a violation of human rights. It will be argued that the widespread belief that human trafficking violates human rights is based on a misunderstanding of human rights as well as some lazy thinking. The actual relevance of human rights to trafficking will be explained, and it will be shown why a clear understanding of the legal nature of human trafficking is important not only in conceptual terms but because it has significant practical ramifications for trafficked people.

Ryszard Piotrowicz has been Professor of Law at Aberystwyth University since 1999. Before that, he was Professor And Dean of the Law Faculty at the University of Tasmania. He has also taught at the Universities of Glasgow and Durham. He studied international law in Scotland, Greece, Poland and Germany. He is an Alexander-von-Humboldt Fellow. He served two terms as a member of the European Commission’s Group of Experts on Trafficking in Human Beings (2008-15) and has been a member of GRETA , the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, since 2013; he is currently Vice-President. He has acted as a consultant on human trafficking to UNHCR, the EU, the Council of Europe, OSCE, IOM and ICMOPD, as well as to nation al governments and private law firms. He has published extensively on the legal aspects of human trafficking, including as co-editor and co-author of the Routledge Handbook of Human Trafficking.