Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery and a major violation of human rights. According to Lemke’s definition (2019), “human trafficking is the act of recruiting, harbouring, transporting, providing or obtaining a person for compelled labour or commercial sex acts by force, fraud or coercion”. Human trafficking does not require movement to another country; it can happen within the same country as well as in any community, irrespective of age, race, gender or nationality of victim. Most commonly identified types of human trafficking include forced labour and prostitution. In addition, other types of human trafficking include forced marriage, domestic servitude, organ removal, sexual slavery and warfare.
Human trafficking is a growing illegal business due to increased global mobility, new technologies and its high profit. Human traffickers target mostly vulnerable individuals, such as women and children, especially for sexual exploitation and forced labour. Victims usually find themselves in situations where they cannot easily report traffickers to the authorities. For this reason, human traffickers go unpunished and the real number of victims cannot be accounted for.
Risk factors associated with human trafficking include poverty, unemployment, the lack of social security, gender inequalities, conflicts and violence. In order to overcome such difficulties, victims easily believe the traffickers’ fake promises such as those of steady employment, better living conditions, etc.
The European Union, as well as other institutions in other parts of the world, has taken a holistic approach to fight against human trafficking. Multiple preventive measures including protection and support of victims have been implemented.
EU Anti-Trafficking Policies
The EU has established several directives with the aim of tackling human trafficking. Directive 2011/36/EU entered into force in 2011 and adopted a victim-centred approach. Directive 2009/52/EC highlights the need for employment of the victim. Directive 2012/29/EU guarantees special support and protection to the victims in order to prevent intimidation and retaliation. Another measure to protect victims of human trafficking is contained in Directive 2004/81/EC, which grants resident permits to non-EU victims.
The EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator is responsible for coordinating EU anti-trafficking actions by developing cooperation between EU institutions, EU agencies, Member States, non-EU countries and other international actors.
Europol, Eurojust, CEPOL, EASO, EIGE, FRA and Frontex are the seven EU agencies that are directly involved in executing EU anti-trafficking policies. They also collect data on human trafficking for legal purposes.
Lemke Rkates. 7 Things You May Not Know About Human Trafficking, And 3 Ways To Help. CRS. https://www.crs.org/stories/stop-human-trafficking. Published May 20, 2019. Accessed June 14, 2019.
Voronova S, Radjenovic A. Thegender dimensionof human trafficking. 2016. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2016/577950/EPRS_BRI(2016)577950_EN.pdf.
What Is Human Trafficking? Department of Homeland Security. https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign/what-human-trafficking. Published May 30, 2019. Accessed June 14, 2019.
Article written by Greeshma Johnson study visitor in Communication at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament (Luxembourg) and student at the University of Luxembourg completing a Master’s Degree programme in Learning and Communication in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature and then obtained a Master of Arts in English Language and Literature. Competent languages include English, Malayalam, Hindi and Tamil. She is currently learning French level A2 at Institut National des Langues.