Human Trafficking Within the European Union

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By: John Gomez Londono

ID: 102229

Professors: Phil Eyre and Nick Taylor





Europe had always been proud that slavery was eradicated here before than any other continent, unfortunately slavery has come back in even more repulsive forms that generate exorbitant profits, the human trafficking. We are facing a type of exceptionally dangerous criminal activity, which represents the third source of income of organized crime after arms and drugs trafficking. At the time that slavery was not classified by law as a crime, slaves were often sold on the market like fresh fruit. Today, human trafficking is prohibited internationally, but the business continues to flourish in secret. Millions of people are used as slaves and forced to work in inhumane conditions for someone else benefit.

The United Nations definition of human trafficking is “The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation”. This meant to provide consistency and consensus around the world on the phenomenon of trafficking in persons.

Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal activity in the European Union, and the measures taken to reduce this phenomenon have not produced tangible results yet.

These people are used in all types of industries, agriculture and services. Most are held captive by debt, forced to work through violence to pay a claim, which in some cases has been inherited, from an ancestor. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people are traded across borders to work in domestic service, manual labour, begging, and mainly in forced prostitution.

Trafficking grows with economic globalization and the opening of internal borders, and the demand for cheap and undocumented labour has helped the illegal trade of human beings, reducing costs, however, that deflation is at the expense of the victims dignity and undermines the basic international standards of human rights, labour, health and safety. For the development of this essay three main topics will be explored the current situation, the efforts of the European Union to stop this phenomenon, and the next steps to be taken.


The human trafficking which is without doubt a clear violation of basic human rights has become very popular in Europe and experts believe that each year more than one hundred thousand people are victims of human trafficking within the borders of the European Union, and recent studies conducted by UNICEF indicates that over two thirds of EU Member States are countries origin and destination of human trafficking. The principal recipient countries are Germany, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy and Spain, and the common countries of source are: Colombia, Philippines, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Thailand, the Balkans and Eastern Europe, Guinea, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Cape Verde and South Asia. From 175 million migrants who are on the world in search of a better future, Europe is the continent, which hosts the largest number: 56.1 million versus 49.7 million in Asia and 40.8 in North America. Nearly doubled since 1965 and 30% less than the 230 million that will run in 2050.

The flexibility of employment in the services sector during the last two decades, the growth of unemployment in Central and Eastern Europe, the endemic poverty of African, East Asia and Latin American countries are the perfect breeding ground for human trafficking where mafias and criminal networks take advantage to get large sums of money.

The reality behind these networks...
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