The European Court of Human Rights is based in Strasbourg. It hears applications from both individuals and Member States on alleged breaches of the Convention of Human Rights. It is of particular importance to Ireland, given the vital role it plays in safeguarding fundamental rights.
In 2010, the Court made a landmark judgement in a case involving a Russian woman who was trafficked to Cyprus - (Rantsev v. Cyprus and Russia). The Court found that trafficking in human beings falls within the scope of Article 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights which prohibits slavery/servitude and forced labour. The Court emphasised that, accordingly, States have a positive obligation to:
- put in place an appropriate legal and administrative framework against trafficking,
- take measures to protect victims, and
- investigate acts of trafficking, including through effective co-operation with other States concerned on criminal matters.