The Framework Decision entered into force on 1 August 2002. Deadline for implementation in the Member States was 1 August 2004. The Framework Decision has been given effect in Ireland in the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008, which came into effect on 7 June 2008.
The Framework Decision requires Member States to take measures to ensure that “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring, subsequent reception of a person, including exchange or transfer of control over that person” will be punishable where (a) use is made of coercion, force, threat or abduction, (b) use is made of fraud or deceit, (c) there is abuse of authority of position of vulnerability, or (d) payments or benefits are given or received to achieve consent for the purpose of exploitation of a person’s labour including forced labour or services, or for the purpose of exploitation of prostitution or sexual exploitation, including in pornography. This is the ‘means’ clause. A victim’s consent is irrelevant. The means clause is irrelevant if the victim is a child.
Member States are also required to ensure that instigation of, aiding, abetting, or attempting to commit an offence is punishable. Member States are to ensure that the criminal offences established are punishable by effective, proportionate and dissuasive criminal penalties that may entail extradition. Member States are required to ensure that legal persons can be held liable. Member States are required to establish jurisdiction where the offence is committed in whole or in part within its territory, or the offender is one of its nationals, or the offence is committed for the benefit of a legal person established within the Member State. Investigations into or prosecution of offences are not dependent on a victim’s report or accusation.