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Migrants at the mercy of human traf
- Subject: Migrants at the mercy of human traf
- From: suriya@xxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Sat, 07 Nov 1998 04:28:00
Subject: Migrants at the mercy of human traffickers
November 7, 1998
Migrants at the
mercy of human
Global economic woes compound situation
The current economic crisis coupled with the suppression of illegal
workers have aggravated the vulnerable situation of migrants,
particularly women, caught in the human trafficking racket in the
Asia-Pacific region, a report claimed.
A paper prepared by the International Organisation for Migration,
presented at the Regional Conference on Trafficking in Women
organised by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for
Asia and the Pacific, said the problem of trafficking in women will
worsen due to changes in the economic and social environment in the
In his presentation, IOM representative Anders Knudsen said the
current crisis has forced the lives of illegal migrants further
In a response to economic problems, many of the receiving countries
in the region have imposed stricter measures against illegally employed
The possibilities of obtaining work permits have also decreased
However, it was noted that considerable demand for foreign labour
Due to the economic downturn, many private companies have been
forced to cut costs to survive.
One option being applied is a reduction in salaries by employing cheap
foreign and irregular labour.
With big supply and strong demand in the labour market, measures
aimed at limiting migration failed to reduce the presence of foreign
Mr Knudsen said illegal cross-border migration has created a market
for services, such as the provision of forged travel documents,
transportation, guided border crossings, accommodation and job
The smuggling of illegal aliens is said to be a very profitable business,
"Before the downturn many could migrate freely and by their own
means, but now with stricter enforcement many have turned to
services offered by traffickers to reach their goal," he said.
A larger number of migrants are now depending on the protection of
employers in order not to be arrested and deported.
Such dependence on employers often leaves migrants at risk of abuse,
exploitation, humiliation, and violence from employers and corrupt
However, although migrants, particularly women, are often abused,
they rarely enjoy any legal rights in the receiving countries. If they
complain to the police, they are simply arrested, charged with illegal
entry and deported.
Trafficking is part of a migration problem, and trafficking in women is
particularly disturbing as female migrants are more vulnerable than
Mr Knudsen said the problems facing female migrants have been
combined by several factors, including violation of basic human rights
in the form of extortion, debt bondage, and sexual exploitation.
Illegal migrants also do not have access to public health care and their
children do not have access to public education.
To solve the problem, he said that governments, inter-governmental
and non-governmental organisations must work together to address
the root causes such as poverty, lack of opportunities, scarce
resources, low status of women in society and political and economic
instability which drive irregular migration as a whole.
The IOM has focussed on two stages in the trafficking process. The
first is through prevention before victimisation occurs, by providing
potential victims with information about trafficking so that they will be
in a better position to make an informed decision.
The second concentrates on direct assistance and support to the
victims of trafficking.
The IOM also emphasised a new range of activities for international
organisations, governments and NGOs such as adoption of policies
and legislation to penalise traffickers, established systems to distinguish
between "normal" irregular migrants and victims of trafficking and legal
and medical assistance for victims of trafficking.
© Copyright The Post Publishing Public Co., Ltd. 1998
Last Modified: Sat, Nov 7, 1998
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