The Battle Against Human Trafficking in Europe : Policy Evaluation

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  • Topic: European Union, Human rights, Council of Europe
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The Battle Against Human Trafficking in Europe: Policy Evaluation Samira Misra
Webster University

Abstract
This paper seeks to evaluate the policies of the European Union directed at combatting human trafficking in all its forms. The current plans of the European Commission and the United Nations are presented, and the rationale behind them is scrutinized. Research shows that the European Union recognizes the problem of human trafficking as a complete denial of human rights, and proposes action to bring to justice the responsible persons. The European Unions perspective is one based on the pillars of democracy: freedom, transparency, the law, and security. This paper argues that the aforementioned perspective is not sufficient in ameliorating the situation. It proposes a broader approach to the construction and design of a comprehensive strategy, encompassing the root causes underlying human trafficking, as well. The chief weaknesses of current policy appear to be its implementation, and EU wide co-ordination. With the identification of these weaknesses, this paper proposes significant reform by regulatory agencies for tangible action against the catastrophic reality of the trafficking trade.

Ana, a girl from Quito, Ecuador fell in love with her husband at the young age of 20. What she thought would be the best decision of her life, ended up leading her to living in a nightmare. Her husband worked at a brothel in Quito, hiding his profession from Ana. Ana left her husband, along with her toddler, and moved in with her mother jobless. She soon met the owner of a small salon, a lady who would talk about Europe, and the lifestyle of the people there. Ana quickly became starry-eyed and accepted an offer to move to Paris to make money. She was completely unaware of what lay ahead. When she reached Paris, she came to know that no job awaited her, other than prostituting herself on the streets to pay back her debts for her trip to Paris. Her pimps collected most of the money she made, and escape was too risky as the trafficking networks were systematic and even connected with law enforcement. Ana did not return to Ecuador for three years, and lived her life, risking it every single day just to make ends meet. This is only one of thousands of horror stories of the victims of human trafficking (Knierim, 2012).

According to the United Nations Office of Drugs & Crime (UNODC), human trafficking is defined as the: 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. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs. (UNODC, 2012).

The sex trafficking industry has become the fastest growing industry in the world, and offenders continue to slip between the cracks of the legislative system (UNHCR, 2010). Data indicates that the number of trafficked victims detected in 2006, in West and Central Europe was 7,300 (UNODC, 2006, p.229). Transcrime suggests a multiplier of 20 for every victim detected, which means that it is estimated that the actual statistic is 20 times what is known, This leads to a possible statistic of 140,000 victims in Europe. It is hard to say what should cause greater concern, the staggering numbers (which are a conservative estimation), or the fact that the trafficking industry continues to boom. Most trafficked victims in Europe come from Balkan countries, and from Russia. Europe also shows the largest number of nationalities of victims than any other region of the world. Victims are...
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