When establishing punishment in criminal cases on human trafficking, nature and degree of harm of human trafficking offences and offences related to those are not assessed adequately, and as a result punishment is often inadequate to offence committed and it does not comply with purposes of punishment established in the Criminal Law, inter alia, preventive purpose to achieve, so that not only convicts, but also other individuals would obey the law and would refrain from commitment of an offence. Such conclusion is made in compilation “Case-law in criminal cases on human trafficking” prepared by the Doctor of Law Valentija Liholaja, the professor of the Department of Criminal Law of the University of Latvia. Research of case-law is discussed and approved at the general meeting of judges of the Department of Criminal Cases of the Supreme Court.

The research includes analysis of case-law in review of cases on human trafficking and transportation of individuals for sexual exploitation, analysing court rulings of 2009-2013 on commitment of offences stipulated in Section 154.1 and 165.1 of the Criminal Law. 62 court rulings (51 judgements of a court of the first instance and 11 rulings of a court of appellate instance and a court of cassation instance) rendered in 11 courts of Latvia and which became effective until research was finished, were analysed.

In criminal proceedings analysed, 75 individuals were brought to trial, inter alia, 24 women; 65 individuals were charged with and found guilty for commitment of an offence stipulated in Section  165.1, namely, or transportation of an individual for sexual exploitation, and ten individuals were charged with human trafficking, for which responsibility is stipulated in Section 154.1 of the Criminal Law.

Criminal cases against 33 accused were reviewed not performing verification of evidence, in 14 cases criminal cases were reviewed under agreement procedure.  

Results obtained during research are compared with results of research “Case-law in criminal cases on human trafficking and transportation of individuals for sexual exploitation” carried out by the Department of Criminal Cases of the Senate and the Division of Case-law of the Supreme Court in 2006 and it is concluded that errors and imperfections established in qualification of offences on human trafficking are eliminated to great extent.  

Research is carried out within framework of the project “Interdisciplinary training for judiciary and other legal professions in the area of financial and economic crimes and related to the phenomena topics”. The project is financed by the Programme Prevention of and Fight against Crime of the Directorate General for Home Affairs of the European Commission, co-financed by the Latvian Judicial Training Centre, the Prosecutor’s Office, the State Revenue Service and the Latvian Council of Sworn Advocates.

Research “Case-law in criminal cases on human trafficking” is available on the website of the Supreme Court www.at.gov.lvin section  Judicature/ Compilations of court decisions/ Criminal law. See here


Information prepared by

Rasma Zvejniece, the Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court

E-mail: rasma.zvejniece@at.gov.lv, telephone: 67020396, 28652211