Security policy and illegal migration including TRAFFICKING IN human beings


Human Trafficking (the movement of persons across borders for illicit purposes and in pursuit of profit) is a growing transnational criminal phenomenon. Illegal migration and human trafficking has been recognized as one of the most serious factors threatening as national as an international security. With the collapse of the USSR, thousands of Ukrainian and Russian women were trafficked into sexual exploitation across the globe.

Ukraine, owing to its geographical location and transparent border with Russia, has long played the role of a transit country for migrant flows from Asia to Western and Central Europe. In addition, due to strict control at western the border and absence of real mechanism of readmission of detainees, Ukraine has steadily been turning into a country of accumulation of illegal migrants.

In recent decades there was no concept of immigration in the Soviet Union. The phenomenon is almost entirely novel, a fact which was felt particularly on the Eastern border with Russia, due mainly to the absence of financial resources for border management and immigration control.

Smuggling of migrants and trafficking in human beings, along with the weapons and drug trade are probably the most lucrative businesses in the world. Migrant smuggling is said to have a turnover of EUR 6.72 billion annually. Even in a situation where international co-operation to combat smuggling and trafficking is intensified, the phenomenon will prevail as long as living standards vary so widely between countries.

Criminals in Ukraine are engaged in migrant smuggling and trafficking in women to Western Europe. According to certain estimates, over a number of years, hundreds of thousands of women have been moved and become involved in crime and prostitution, in Western Europe and beyond.  

Research task:

A lot of research have been done with aim to estimate the scale, reasons and factors of human trafficking both in Ukraine and global. The Government of Ukraine has employed different strategies to address the issue of trafficking in people. The Government does not condone trafficking and has taken a series of concrete measures in order to respond to this severe problem in Ukraine, and can now said to be in the forefront in the criminalization of this crime in Europe. The Ukrainian Government has adopted several international instruments in regards to prevention of trafficking in human been. The latest international instrument – the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish trafficking in person, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Conventions Against Transnational Organize Crime was signed by Ukraine on 15 November 2001, and ratified.

In September 2001, the new Criminal Code of Ukraine came into force, which constitutes a radical departure from the previous one, essentially based upon the Code of the USSR. Article 149 of the new Code creates the crime of trafficking in people. It provides criminal liability for trafficking in people or entering any other illegal agreements regarding transfer of humans as well. As stipulated by law, a person who is found guilty of being involved in direct or indirect. This new article is more in accordance with international standards stipulated in UN-protocol[1] than the one found in the old criminal code[2]; however Ukraine still has to adopt its national legislation in accordance, and is currently drafting such a proposal.

Many criticisms had been leveled at article 124-1 on the basis that elements of the crime had not been defined, and so police and prosecutors were unclear as to how to apply its provisions in practice. New terms such as ‘debt bondage’, ‘sexual exploitation’ and ‘exploitation of work’ were used with no guidance as to their definition. No official commentaries were provided concerning implementation of the law and although these commentaries are not binding, courts generally rely on them in interpreting the law. Also, law enforcement officers were not provided with any new ‘procedures’ in relation to trafficking, as is normally the case in connection with the enforcement of new crimes. The overall effect of these inadequacies has been to discourage police from investigating allegations of trafficking, and prosecutors have also been reluctant to initiate new cases. Until the present, more than nine hundred  trafficking cases have been filed and many other cases are under active investigation. However, because of difficult to prove such cases, the lack of jurisprudential precedents and the lack of experience of law enforcement and judicial agencies in regards to trafficking, a number of cases are only being prosecuted under related crime definitions and not under “Trafficking”.

In this connection one of the main research tack is to understand which of existent definitions of “human trafficking” reflect the true meaning o this phenomenon or illustrate all of its dimensions? What sort of   differences between human trafficking, smuggling and illegal migration?  Should we include internal trafficking into transnational trafficking definition? How to apply existing definition into a legal practice?

Application of the project result

Studies of trafficking issue help geared toward quantifying the political, social and economic cost of trafficking and examining how this activity is related to transnational organized crime groups. The research result:

Developing of a national policy on prevention of crime:

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[1] Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish trafficking in person, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Conventions Against Transnational Organize Crime

[2] Art. 124 Criminal Code of Ukraine (old)