There were clearly influential amicus curiae submissions by Interrights (see http://www.interights.org/rantsev/index.htm)and by the AIRE Centre on the subject of human trafficking. The Court concluded:
The absence of an express reference to trafficking in the Convention is unsurprising. The Convention was inspired by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948, which itself made no express mention of trafficking. In its Article 4, the Declaration prohibited “slavery and the slave trade in all their forms”. However, in assessing the scope of Article 4 of the Convention, sight should not be lost of the Convention’s special features or of the fact that it is a living instrument which must be interpreted in the light of present-day conditions. The increasingly high standards required in the area of the protection of human rights and fundamental liberties correspondingly and inevitably require greater firmness in assessing breaches of the fundamental values of democratic societies (para. 277).Citing the case law of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, it said:
The Court considers that trafficking in human beings, by its very nature and aim of exploitation, is based on the exercise of powers attaching to the right of ownership. It treats human beings as commodities to be bought and sold and put to forced labour, often for little or no payment, usually in the sex industry but also elsewhere (see paragraphs 101 and 161 above). It implies close surveillance of the activities of victims, whose movements are often circumscribed (see paragraphs 85 and 101 above). It involves the use of violence and threats against victims, who live and work under poor conditions (see paragraphs 85, 87 to 88 and 101 above). (para. 281).The Court said that the regime of so-called ‘artiste visas’ in Cyprus did not provide adequate protection against violations of article 4 of the European Convention, which prohibits slavery and servitude. It said that Russia, too, had a procedural obligation to investigate trafficking that it did not honour.