The High Cost of Freedom: A Legal and Policy Analysis of Shelter Detention for Victims of Trafficking

In countries around the world it is common practice for victims of human trafficking who have been "rescued" or who have escaped from situations of exploitation to be placed and detained in public or private shelters. In the most egregious situations, victims can be effectively imprisoned in such shelters for months, even years. This article uses field-based research to document this largely unreported phenomenon. It then considers the international legal aspects of victim detention in shelters and weighs the common justifications for such detention from legal, policy, and practical perspectives.