Policy Project

Olga Pyshchulina

Security policy and illegal migration including trafficking  in human beings

Project justification

What are general factors for illegal migration and human trafficking?  Which factors facilitate a criminal dimension? 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? 

Human Trafficking (the movement of persons across borders for illicit purposes and in pursuit of profit) is a growing transnational criminal phenomenon. Although it is not a new phenomenon, it has spread to new regions of the world and become a large part   of the illicit global economy. Until the late 1980s, the trafficking of people was primarily an Asian phenomenon. But with the collapse of the USSR, thousands of Ukrainian and Russian women were trafficked into sexual exploitation across the globe.

Numerous governmental and non-governmental organizations and agencies around the globe have recognized the problem and raised it at the highest national and international level .  Trafficking in human being and illegal migration recognize as a big security problem by Interpol and Europol. Human trafficking is an extraordinarily complex problem because it is at once an issue of economic and cultural disparities, technological progress and sophistication, enhanced labor mobility, human rights, and the expansion of criminal networks.

 During the past few years, cross-border crime, drug-trafficking, and immigration have replaced traditional frontier disputes as main sources of insecurity for many countries. The main debates surrounding the movement of people have focused on the strict control of immigration and minimizing the number of asylum seekers and the links made between security, criminality and migration. No longer associated solely with labor market dislocations, humanitarian reasons, and social integration concerns, migration has become part of the new national security agendas of the receiving and transit countries. Thus, the perceived threats to economic well-being, social order, cultural and religious values, and political stability have placed migration policies within a framework intended to protect the societies of Europe.

The transnational trade in women is based on supply and demand from sending and receiving countries. Countries with large sex industries create the demand and are the receiving countries, while countries where traffickers easily recruit women are the sending countries. Root causes of trafficking in human being, occurring both in countries of origin and destination, remain insufficiently tackled, in particular causes such as poverty, week social and economic structures, lack of employment opportunities and equal opportunities in general, violence against women and children, discrimination base on sex, race and ethnicity, corruption, unresolved conflicts, post-conflict situation, illegal migration and the demand for sexual exploitation and inexpensive, socially unprotected and often illegal labor.

The collapse of the Soviet Union opened up a pool of millions of women from which traffickers can recruit. Now, former Soviet republics have become major sending countries for women trafficked into sex industries all over the world. In the sex industry markets today, the most popular and valuable women are from Ukraine. Ukraine has undergone a number of fundamental political, economic and social changes since the 1980s, but independence without appropriate infrastructures has resulted in an economy that plunged to drastic lows, and a collapse in the social safety net system. According to the 2002 UNDP Human Development Report, 26 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.  In fact, a recent survey indicated that 2/3 of young, Ukrainian women live on or below the poverty line. And although registered youth unemployment figures dropped from 30.5% in 1999 to 25.6% in 2002, unregistered youth unemployment is estimated to be as high as 40%. Closing of many state enterprises has caused large-scale unemployment, which coupled with unreasonable taxation has resulted in many citizens seeking opportunities for work and a better life abroad, even at the risk of being trafficked. The trafficking web is difficult to tackle, as it involves not only organized crime circles that have found a profitable source of income second only to drug and arms trafficking, but also a whole network of intermediaries who insidiously work between family and friends.

Increased economic globalization and privatization has resulted in an increased feminization of poverty, forcing greater numbers of women worldwide to migrate in search of work. Many of these migrants end up as victims of illegal and unscrupulous trafficking networks. According to U.S. Senate Resolution 82 on Trafficking, trafficking "involves one or more forms of kidnapping, false imprisonment, rape, battering, forced labor, or slavery-like practices which violate fundamental human rights." The growth of shadow economies and transnational criminal networks in newly independent states and in the Ukraine are negative manifestations of globalization, arising from expanding economic, political and social transnational linkages that are increasingly beyond local and state control. An important component of globalization is the transnational linkages created by migration. Members of organized crime rings establish contacts with willing collaborators in diasporas communities throughout the world and work within migrating populations to build transnational criminal networks. Increased migration also serves as a cover for traffickers in transporting women to destinations in the sex industry. 

Since most Western country has imposed strict limits on the numbers of legal migrants who can enter their territories, many women are forced to accept the service of traffickers if they wish to migrate. Most forms of labor    migration from developing countries to Western Europe are severely restricted. A legal work option available to migrant women is work in the entertainment sector as «artists» or «dancers». In practice this type of work is frequently linked to work in the sex industry.

Today’s countries of origin and transit will probably be tomorrow’s countries of destination (like for example Poland, Hungary and others). Although at this moment Ukraine mainly functions as a country of origin it is important understand that in a perspective Ukraine can be function as a country of transition or destination. 

Trafficking in human being and human smuggling cannot totally be prevent only by establishing a penal and law enforcement regime. A multi-disciplinary approach is required, including appropriate social and economic measures which will address their root causes such as poverty, economic disparities and unemployment. Collective efforts by origin, transit and destination countries are necessary.

The international community has employed different strategies to address the issue of trafficking in people. Thus over the last few years IOM has conduct a number of studies and researchers on trafficking in several EU and non EU countries such as Austria, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands, Switzerland, Hungary, Lithuania, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines and Ukraine. One of the finding of this research is growing of human trafficking from Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs). In order to prevent this criminal network it is necessary to obtain reliable information from sending and transit countries. The European Union has been very active in supporting measure to combat trafficking. The Justice and Home Affaire Council of EU passed 5 recommendation to support further action to combat trafficking, it was establish the STOP programme and finally the General Assembly of the UN created an Ad Hoc Committee on the Elaboration of a Convention against Organized Crime, including Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Person, especially Women and Children. But in spite of that trafficking in human being has attracted increasing attention during the last few years virtually all organizations, agencies, governments that are attempting to raise and deal with this problem agree on one thing: there is not enough solid, rigorous research, and there is not an adequate statistical data on the magnitude of the problem, while unofficial estimates of the numbers of persons being trafficked out of the country differ. For example, those statistics which are available are mainly collected by the police, by Ministers of Justice and NGOs. Academic research appears to be less likely to collect statistic on human trafficking. Therefore, the problem of trafficking remains too narrowly defined in many countries and that the social, employment and migration aspects of trafficking are too often ignored. In this connection the main research task are:


Further most approaches to the problem of trafficking have focused on the sending countries. And next less attention has been focused on curtailing the demand created in receiving countries. Thus a crucial component in the comprehensive counter-trafficking response will be analysis of the “demand” side of the trafficking process and an examination of methods by which the demand of clients can be effectively reduced.

The growing phenomena of transnational crime and corruption present a formidable challenge to national and international security, and the international law enforcement, political and business communities. They have a negative impact on the global political economy, and a disproportionately negative effect on transnational and developing countries. Those most severely impacted by transnational crime and corruption are traditionally marginalized groups, such as women, children, small business entrepreneurs and minorities. 

Research Methodology

To clarify Ukraine’s position, we first need to look into how Ukraine has fared in comparison with other countries. Considering its preconditions, the most relevant comparison is with other post-Soviet countries, because all these countries had far worse preconditions than those in East-Central Europe. Therefore, we shall examine some major parameters and scale of human trafficking. Next, we shall explore why Ukraine have such scale of trafficking. In this study we will thoroughly analyze available statistical data in Ukraine.

Collect  as well as background material and data from relevant institution such, Ministry of Justice, Police, academic institution, NGOs as in all target agencies and independent researchers  with aim integrate the view and opinion regarding this issue. In order to develop efficient and targeted prevention measures on trafficking in human being, there is a need for improved data, research, and analysis. A methodology should take into account the evolving character of this form of violation of human rights and this for of crime.    

The data will be collected using different methods: in-depth interviews, some survey data and the mass media.  The mass media will be monitored to determine the extent of human trafficking in the world, the public response to the problem and the governmental response to the problem. Further, will be conduct a total of 35-40 in-depth interviews and survey with law enforcement officials, political experts, judges, sociologists and other relevant Ukraine professionals. The interviews will focus on the most critical problems of the human trafficking, including main measures of prevention, victims’ assistance and prosecution. Study the latest materials and relevant publications on the subject; to discuss possibilities of application of the international experience in Ukrainian legal practices; to have experienced professionals' supervision and comments of the study.

Application of the project result

Studies of migration and 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 can help Ukrainian governments fighting sex-trade activities and sets up a process for cutting off non-humanitarian aid to internal structure that tolerate or condone trafficking and  promote partnership between and among all the different actors (such as law enforcement, social authorities, juridical and migration authorities, NGO);  To promote reducing crime as a social phenomenon, promotion gender equality and fight against poverty that can contribute to the reduction of the number of persons being trafficking for exploitative purposes. 

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