Victims of human trafficking who seek international protection in their country of destination face a steep uphill battle. Special visa programs designed to regularize their status are often riddled with conditions that make them inaccessible to all but a very few victims. Despite widespread international agreement that the manifold harms inflicted upon the majority of trafficked persons generally rise to the level of persecution, and therefore that victims should be eligible to apply for asylum, many national courts misinterpret international refugee law standards and routinely deny refugee status to deserving applicants. Courts often refuse to recognize persecution on the basis of gender, whereas the vast majority of trafficking victims are targeted because they are female. The result is that many trafficking victims who substantively meet the requirements for refugee status, and are therefore deserving of international protection in the form of asylum, instead find themselves prosecuted and deported. Adjudicators justify their denials on the ground that trafficking victims fail to meet the so-called "nexus" requirement, which obliges an asylum seeker to establish that her persecution was for reasons of her civil or political status-a requirement that becomes difficult to establish in the context of trafficking.
Left Out in the Cold: Trafficking Victims, Gender, and Misinterpretation of the Refugee Convention's "Nexus" Requirement,
Mich. J. Gender & L.
Available at: http://repository.law.umich.edu/mjgl/vol16/iss2/3