Forced labour and trafficking


The Court's Press Service has compiled Factsheets by theme on the Court’s case-law and pending cases.


These factsheets are available on the Court's website (


We summarized some of them for our readers and recommend to visit the Court's website on these topics.



  • Domestic workers

A Togolese national having arrived in France in 1994 with the intention to study, was made to work instead as a domestic servant in a private household in Paris : her passport confiscated, she worked without pay, 15 hours a day for several years.


The European Court of Human Rights held that the criminal law in force at the time had not protected her sufficiently and that although the law had been changed subsequently, it had not been applicable to her situation.


The European Court of Human Rights concluded that Ms Siliadin had been held in servitude, in violation of Article 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights.


E.C.H.R, 26.07.2005, Siliadin v. France (n°73316/01)



  • Trafficking and forced prostitution


The applicant was the father of a young woman who died in Cyprus where she had gone to work in March 2001. He complained that the Cypriot police had not done everything possible to protect his daughter from trafficking while she had been alive and to punish those responsible for her death.


The European Court of Human Rights noted that, like slavery, trafficking in people treated human beings as commodities and thus trafficking itself was prohibited by Article 4.


The European Court of Human Rights found that Cyprus had violated Article 4 because it had failed to put in place an appropriate legal and administrative framework to combat trafficking, and the police had failed to protect Ms Rantseva despite circumstances suggesting a credible suspicion that she might have been a victim of trafficking.


E.C.H.R.,07.01.2010, Rantsev v. Cyprus and Russia (application n°25965/04)