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Migration and refugee crisis fuels human trafficking

Human trafficking is recognised by many as the slavery of the 21st century. A form of exploitation to which everyone, without distinction of age, sex, race, nationality or social origin, is exposed to, and that affects different nations, whether it be the country of origin, transit or destination.


Rosmerys Bernal Piña


Recently, the international media has published various reports on the rescue of victims, the capture of traffickers and the dismantling of criminal networks. However, the United Nations Organisation (UNO) warns that with every investigation another 20 people remain in danger.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) also indicated that until 2017 more than 40 million people in the world were subjected to various forms of modern-day slavery. The UNO identifies human trafficking as a serious violation of human rights, a crime that includes the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of threat or the use of force or coercion, in addition to abduction, fraud, deceit or abuse of power.

This exploitation can be manifested by child begging, poverty, domestic servitude, illegal adoption, forced marriage, the extraction of organs for transplants, as well as forced and sexual labour, which are among the most common practices in reported cases.

A global report on human trafficking prepared by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, indicated that approximately 30 per cent of victims are boys and more than 50 per cent are women and girls.

The document emphasises that women and girls are the main victims of forced marriages and sexual exploitation, while men and boys are used in forced labour such as for mining and military purposes.

Specialists in this field estimate that in Europe alone, 70,000 victims of this business are reported every year. They identify Spain as one of the main countries in the transit and destination region.

Experts also highlight Bulgaria, Romanian, Hungary and Poland among the European countries of origin, where traffickers mainly target those who suffer from social exclusion.

Irina Todorova, a specialist on the subject for the International Migration Office (IOM), identified hopelessness as a determining factor in victim recruitment. Furthermore, several studies warn that the migratory and refugee crisis in Europe has increased the risk of vulnerability due to desperation. Human trafficking is considered as the third most lucrative illegal business in the world, after arms and drug trafficking.

Since 2010 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a plan of action, to combat human trafficking and urge governments to work together on security and identification to defeat this scourge.

International humanitarian aid organisations and specialists advocate for greater action to be taken against those who benefit from this business, both traffickers and consumers.

The Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, propose by 2030 the eradication of forced labour, human trafficking, child labour, and the elimination of violence against women and children, including sex trafficking and other forms of slavery. (PL/Orbe)

(Translated by Natalie Clark – Email: – Photos: Pixabay

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