Gary Becker died on 3 May 2014. He was an economist, Noble prize winner and author. He was declared by Milton Friedman as the “the greatest social scientist who has lived and worked in the last half century”. His work focused on economics and sociology, and through the lenses of these disciplines he looked at many subjects, including crime and the criminal law. His crucial finding that crime is the sum of rational actors still has a lot to off er to criminologists and practitioners working in the area of criminal law. This editorial pays tribute to his analytical spirit by embracing it when assessing the EU legislation to combat human trafficking.