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Potential cases of trafficking of migrants for forced labour purposes should not be viewed primarily in terms of migration control

Strasbourg, 25.09.2012 – “The economic crisis reinforces the already significant vulnerability of irregular migrants and increases still further the number of victims for this form of trafficking. Currently, migrants already account for almost half of the total number of the some 20.9 million trapped in forced labour world-wide. Trafficking of human beings affects virtually every country in the world, either as a country of origin, transit or destination,” the rapporteur on trafficking of migrant workers for forced labour, Annette Groth (Germany, UEL) told the PACE Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons at its meeting in Paris on 14 September.

She pointed out that for several years work on human trafficking had focused on sexual exploitation only. “It is important to take into account all forms of human trafficking for labour exploitation including the agricultural, manufacturing and hotel, restaurant sectors, the building and textile industries as well as domestic services and organised begging,” she said.

Experts warned the committee that alongside this trafficking there was a great deal of irregular migration linked then to sub-standard labour conditions. This however should not be equated with human trafficking. Indeed, they said, many potential cases of trafficking of migrants for forced labour purposes were viewed by the authorities primarily in terms of migration control. Such an approach has unintended but severe consequences for victims of trafficking. They run a serious risk of being expelled, simply on the basis of being irregular migrants. If their status as victims of trafficking and exploitation are recognised, they could receive at least some form of protection, the experts concluded.