Trafficking in Persons, a Threat to Human Security In The Developed Countries. The Case of European Union In the Era of Globalization
National Strategies Observer No.2/Vol.1, 2015
11 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2015
Date Written: November 2, 2015
Since the end of the Cold War, the global integration of national economies has increased the flow of goods, services, capital, and people. The European Union’s efforts to play an important economic role on the international scene led to its enlargement to 28 countries and to a better liberalization of the labour market.
The actual economic, political, demographic and environmental international context made the EU an attractive place for regular and irregular migrants, as well as for internal migrants who seek employment far away from their home countries. During 2013, Eurostat reported that a total of 3.4 million people immigrated to one of the EU-28 Member States and, among these, about 6.1 thousand are stateless persons. On the 1st of January 2014, the number of people living in the EU who were citizens of non-member countries was 19.6 million, representing 3.9 % of the EU population, with a median age of 28 years. In addition, there were 14.3 million internal migrants living in one of the EU Member States with the citizenship of another EU Member State .
The political and economic insecurity in Syria, Libya, Pakistan, and Afghanistan transformed Europe in a safer place for hundreds of thousands of refugees and irregular migrants. In 2013, Eurostat reported 435,000 asylum applications and in 2014 - 625 000, with a visibly increased number of asylum seekers for 2015 based on the large number of people that entered in Greece and Italy in the first part of this year.
According to the most recent Eurostat data, the labour migration to the EU is increasing every year. The largest number of migrants are low-skilled and unskilled workers in agriculture, manufacturing, construction, domestic work and services. This large phenomenon of labour mobility to EU comes, in some cases, with abusive and fraudulent employment practices, which increase the recruited persons’ risk to end up in a form of labour or sexual exploitation. In 2014, the debates on the legal documents adopted at the 103rd International Labour Conference established the clear link between human trafficking and forced labour. There is a shared international responsibility of governments and employers to protect workers against fraudulent and abusive practices that may end up in a form of modern slavery.
It is accepted that the most developed countries are the world’s largest markets for illicit goods and services. Corruption, coercion, and effective logistics of criminal networks made transnational organized crime one of the world’s most sophisticated and profitable businesses. Since trafficking in persons is a transnational crime, EU states have to look beyond their borders to disrupt both the demand markets and the criminal groups in order to protect their sovereignty, to strengthen their security and the rule of law.
This research paper highlights the relationship between lack of clear regulation on labour migration and some cases of human trafficking. It presents trafficking in persons as a real threat to human security in the EU developed countries and, also, the governments’ incapacity to protect their people against transnational organized crime. Nowadays, Europe faces the situation of the largest number of refugees and irregular migrants after the Second World War. These people are extremely vulnerable to trafficking for forced labour and sexual exploitation. As modern slavery became a threat that affects all the EU Member States, they have a shared responsibility to respond to this phenomenon. Are they able to seek new and innovative strategies? Are the EU institutions and the member states’ governments capable to find effective responses to human trafficking? These are some main questions that the paper aims to respond to.
Keywords: human trafficking, human smuggling, trafficking in persons, human security, transnational organized crime, responsibility to protect, crime against humanity, national security, migrant workers, internal migrants
JEL Classification: A10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation