GENERAL OVERVIEW OF TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS
What is trafficking in persons?
Trafficking in persons is an international problem and it represents a contemporary form of slavery. During the process of trafficking in persons, the human body and labor are exploited in the cruelest possible manner and the fundamental human rights of the victims are also violated, starting with the restriction of movement and all the way to violence and abuse. This most commonly occurs in the sex industry, the civil construction and agricultural sector, but, it also occurs in private households, otherwise recognized and identified as sectors of weak collective rights. Contrary to the global efforts for suppression, this phenomenon still persists. Trafficking in persons, as a phenomenon, is caused by various reasons that would appear in all of the phases of the process of trafficking in persons: in countries of origin (unemployment, poverty, wars, political instability, poor social conditions, gender inequality), in destination countries (demand for cheap labor force or repressive migration policies) and during migration (lack of secure and legal possibilities for migration). As an antecedent to the above listed factors, additional share may be attributed to violence, especiallydomestic violence, sexual abuse, discrimination, parental negligence, low educational level and lack of life skills. The search for a better life, the possibilities for employment and better chances for earning a higher income, the search for better quality education or the desire to discover new countries, combined with the lack of information, contributes towards making uninformed decisions that can be very easily exploited by the traffickers. When speaking about the number of victims on a worldwide level and even on a domestic level, it is practically impossible to provide for concrete, accurate and generally accepted statistics. Various stakeholders, including international organizations, institutional partners and NGOs are applying different techniques for data collection and use diverse indicators.
Besides this, there are also other reasons due to which, an accurate number that reflects reality cannot be provided, such as: large number of unreported cases; poor identification; fear to report the case by the victims because they are or have been under threat by the traffickers; fear not to be detained or placed in custody as illegal migrants due to the existence of different national legislations; lack of confidence and trust in the competent law enforcement authorities and often happens that the victims are not able to recognize themselves as victims. Contrary to the stereotype that trafficking in persons, mostly occurs in the sex industry and that the victims are primarily young and naïve women, a large portion of the trafficked persons around the world are actually men and mostly they are trafficked for labor exploitation.
Long time ago, the international community began to promote and create policies and to prepare and implement conventions, while on the other hand, the states started drafting strategies and national action plans to prevent and to deal with this phenomenon, but unfortunately, even after many years, trafficking in persons is still present in underdeveloped countries, in developing countries, as well as in the economically developed countries, in post war countries and countries that are still at war, or in short, trafficking in persons is a global problem and no single country is immune to this phenomenon.
Contrary to the stereotype that trafficking in persons, mostly occurs in the sex industry and that the victims are primarily young and naïve women, a large portion of the trafficked persons around the world are actually men and mostly they are trafficked for labor exploitation.
Although, trafficking in persons represents a common problem for all countries on a global level, still, different countries use diverse approaches and deal with it in different manners. Many of the countries do recognize trafficking in persons as a serious violation of human rights, but nevertheless do not render appropriate assistance, support and protection of trafficked persons. Even, when in certain cases, a short-term assistance is offered, there is a lack of long-term solutions, such as: access to the labor market or obtaining a long-term residence permit (if the trafficked person is not willing or cannot return to his or her native country or country of origin).
In general, state policies have a tendency to focus on measures in the area of controlling crime and migration policies and are much less focused on the protection of the human rights of trafficked persons. Creating policies to fight against trafficking in persons, where the principle of respecting human rights shall be imbedded and implemented, will allow for an adequate response to the reasons that lead to the emergence of trafficking in persons, which, in turn, shall contribute to strengthening of vulnerable groups.
ToR national consultant for action plan and training on the Unified SOPs Macedonia
Terms of Reference
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