Implementation of the non-punishment principle: Report of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Siobhán Mullally (A/HRC/47/34) [EN/AR/RU/ZH]

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Human Rights Council
Forty-seventh session
21 June–9 July 2021
Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development


The present report of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Siobhán Mullally, was prepared pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 44/4.

In the report, the Special Rapporteur analyses current challenges in the implementation of the principle of non-punishment. The principle of non-punishment constitutes the cornerstone of an effective protection of the rights of victims of trafficking, however, its non-implementation or deficient implementation measures that deviate the principle from its intended result are still common practice. In the present report, the Special Rapporteur takes stock of previous research conducted under the mandate, as well as submissions of examples of good practices by Member States and the expertise of practitioners. She offers an ample overview of the recognition of the principle in various legal instruments and jurisprudence. She underlines the link between the principle of nonpunishment and States’ obligation of due diligence and studies the challenges in its application, as well as other forms of punishment outside of criminal proceedings, such as deprivation of nationality, administrative sanctions and detention in closed shelters.

The Special Rapporteur offers States a set of recommendations aimed at supporting them in the adoption of a model of application of the non-punishment principle that is fully compliant with States’ obligation to protect victims of trafficking.