The United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, which supplements the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, laid down the first internationally binding definition of trafficking in human beings in 2000. This protocol, which was adopted by all European Union members states as well as the European Union itself gave way to a number of European directives that address the fight against human trafficking in the member states; the latest directives also take the protection of victims and the observance of their (human) rights into account. This paper investigates the application of the EU's counter-trafficking policies in the German context, and asks to which extent the national legal framework can provide for the observance of victims' rights. This study focuses on victims' rights to protection by outlining and comparing different options for victims to claim these rights. The missing links between legislative acts and their application for the benefit of victims is examined by way of the experience made by NGOs working with victims of trafficking. The background of this paper was developed in the framework of a joint project of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the GermanFederal Office for Migration and Refugees (FOMR).
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