The 18th October is the 10th EU Anti-Trafficking Day. In a three-part blog series, ICMPD analyses challenges and future priorities for the EU in combating trafficking in human beings, focusing on anti-trafficking within a global migration context.
In view of the forthcoming EU Anti-Trafficking Strategy, the blog will focus on the current trends and policies asking the question of how current debates might shape anti-trafficking in the coming years.
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The first blog in the series analyzes the unintended negative consequences of restrictive migration policies and their ripercussions on trafficking. The author argues that in the context of the current migration crisis, European policy makers should take into primary consideration the impact of legislation, policy and measures against irregular migration on anti-trafficking policy. Failing to do so could result in an increased vulnerability of victims.
The 2012 – 2016 EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings also calls for coherence to ensure that action against trafficking is also included in other policy areas. This means tailoring migration laws so to prevent trafficking in the first place, rather than taking action solely after the crime has occurred. Although all major EU migration policy frameworks include measures to contrast human trafficking, the increasingly restrictive laws against illegal migration and stricter border controls push a growing number of people into the arms of smugglers.
The European Commission’s Report on the progress made in the fight against trafficking in human beings (2016) recognizes that migration is one of the factors increasing the individuals' vulnerability to trafficking. The difficulties faced by asylum seekers in order to obtain legal protection and maintain a legal immigration status put them in an uncertain and vulnerable situation; hence the need for policy makers to review existing legislation on migration, asylum, and border control to ensure it does not expose migrants to a higher risk of becoming trafficking victims.