Human Trafficking in Europe: Character, Causes and Consequences
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Human history is replete with examples of countries founded on slavery, which believed that the exploitation of slaves was not immoral. Rather, that slaves were simply inferior to others and deserve their circumstances. Modern slavery – bearing similar but not identical hallmarks of past practices – has taken on new lingo, such as human trafficking, which in fact is the trading of people over boundaries for the purpose of enslavement. Slavery and society have been, and continue to be, walking side by side.
Wylie and McRedmond’s (eds) work, Human Trafficking in Europe: Character, Causes and Consequences is a modern slavery encyclopaedia consisting of 13 chapters and although not formally divided into parts, three distinctive thematic sections are clearly visible.
Firstly, the authors provide a general section that introduces human trafficking in Europe, develop adequate definitions and explain some wider characteristics, causes and consequences of the phenomenon. Secondly, the work reveals that modern slavery is ever-present; visible in developed and developing countries alike. The works that comprise this part are based on the authors’ own countries and produce vivid depictions of human trafficking, its etiology, and its victims quite literally in their own neighbourhoods. Finally, the latter parts of the work are dedicated to international and European policies aimed at the suppression and prevention of human trafficking. In short, this book provides a wide readership, even those unacquainted to the phenomena, sufficient information about its dynamics and central characteristics.
It commences with a thematic introduction by Wylie and McRedmond’s which adequately sets the tone for the subsequent sections by defining the scope and subject of inquiry and weighing in to the discussion on questions of legality and legitimacy while determining key causes.
The introduction is logically followed by Munck’s contribution which argues that human trafficking is best understood as a more modern way to use antiquated methods and explains root causes that are relevant to our own times. Drawing parallels between past slavery to more modern forms, both are characterised by relatively low costs for purchasing slaves, high profits for traffickers, a short time relation between the slave and trafficker, a large number of potential slaves and a general irrelevance of ethnic differences.
Arocha changes the pace of the book by theorising on slavery through a distinctly (neo)Marxist vantage; a lens that views slavery as a consequence of pre-capitalist societies and suggests economic development as a solution. This is a particularly important chapter since it readies readers for understanding the exploitation of certain segments of society, points further elaborated in the subsequent chapter by Divitti who explores the most vulnerable, children who historically and more contemporarily have been treated as merchandise. Davitti analyses child trafficking from Afghanistan to the United Kingdom and links such actions to international military interventions, the new restrictive migration politics and with global economic development.
The following six subsequent chapters review human trafficking in different countries, each of which serves as a case study. Some are countries of origin while others are countries of destination. Specifically, these chapters offer detailed information about the characteristics, phenomenology, the implementation of international and European legal instruments, state policies for its prevention and suppression, and for reducing of the demand of human trafficking. Wisniewski, Poole, Deighan, Ward and Wylie, Papendreou and Moritz, and Nanu, explore the situations in Poland, Albania, Russia, Ukraine, Ireland, Greece, Cyprus, Germany and Moldova respectively.
Following the more empirical central parts of this work, Jobe presents a post-script of trafficking victims after being saved. Through the experiences of 23 trafficked women with the British official authorities, the Jobe traces the victims’ psychology vis-a-vis the denial of help, long asylum processes and restrictive immigration policies (in the UK).
The Palermo Protocol connects human trafficking with transnational organised criminality and attempts to widely define the phenomenon. However, the definition remains unaccepted as mainstream. With this in mind, McRedmond further elaborates the roles played by organised criminals in modern slavery and works to refine the understandings of the interaction between clandestine traffickers, victims and international approaches to combating the former.
Such theorising also requires empirical testing, a task accepted by Farka who assesses the human trafficking of Albanian children to Greece, and of Albania’s legislation and the international law implemented in its codes.
This edited volume is dedicated to comprehending human trafficking and acts as a source of knowledge regarding slavery. Comprehensively written, it commences from a global perspective and then turns to focusing on regional and national levels. The work does not omit discussion of the victims and places their needs and rights at the core of the human rights based approach to trafficking advanced throughout the pages of the text. Only through learning from their lives and forced sacrifices can the international community truly understand the entire, deranged process, help victims, prevent new victims and try ‘to put modern slavery out of business’ once and for all.