We published an FMR issue on ‘people trafficking’ in 2006. Since then, the greater attention paid to movements of people towards Europe has exposed the increasing impact of both trafficking and smuggling of people – and we have noted increased interest in this subject among our readers over the past few years, reflected in offers of articles on the topic.
Smugglers may promise safe passage into Europe in return for payment but frequently use physical and sexual abuse to demand more money from their victims than initially agreed upon; this often leads to coerced labour (including sex work), as victims are forced into near slavery conditions in order to pay back their ‘debts’. Survivors often then find themselves unable to report abuse due to their lack of legal status and the frequent withholding of identity documents by their traffickers. Unaccompanied children are particularly vulnerable; some 10,000 unaccompanied minor refugees have been reported missing after reaching Europe, and many are believed to have fallen victim to trafficking and sexual exploitation. Some countries may be source, destination and transit countries for trafficking. Bilateral cooperation agreements have led to the dismantling of several international criminal trafficking networks to date but trafficking networks inevitably continue to emerge and evolve.
This issue would reflect on aspects such as definitions, identification of victims and networks, interruption of networks and prevention of trafficking, trafficking as a means of financing conflict, links with State fragility and peacebuilding, legal frameworks, awareness raising, support for survivors, and roles of different actors.
A full call for articles will follow shortly.