Migration And Human Trafficking

Apartments of labour migrants in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.Creator: Sonja Barwitzki. All rights reserved.

Globalisation is one of the most influential phenomena of our time and while bringing many positive changes to the world’s society, there is also a negative side to it: uncontrollable dynamics in markets and society, combined with environmental issues or political crisis may all contribute to a person’s decision to migrate.The gap between rich and poor is constantly growing, forcing underprivileged families and individuals to find possible solutions to improve their livelihoods. For many, the answer to this problem is to seek employment in a different place, whether in their native country or somewhere abroad. Many migrants have no problems moving, others might face massive problems and dangers during the act of moving: where there is vulnerability, there are also third parties trying to exploit the weaker and to make a profit from the situation. The victims of human trafficking are mainly migrants coming from desperate situations and seeking for better futures. Even if the act of migration was a conscious choice even not voluntary, and its organisation proceeded legally, it may happen that it ends in illegal conditions. The victims are facing inhumane working and living conditions often including humiliation, violence up to murder and a lack of basic rights. Human trafficking may occur through professional traffickers, parents or other relatives, intimate partners or kidnappers who sell the victim into those conditions.

Human trafficking is one of the most widespread crimes worldwide. According to the Global Slavery Index there are an estimated 29.8 million people caught in modern slavery across the world. In this report 162 countries were ranked based on the estimated rate of modern slavery by population, the levels of child marriage and levels of human trafficking into and out of the country. Cambodia was ranked 38th out of all countries. The report states that there is an estimated number of 110,000 enslaved people in Cambodia.

This paper sheds light on the negative sides of migration in general terms and gives examples of the migration and human trafficking situation in Cambodia. The section Push and Pull Factors will specify which reasons might influence an individual’s decision to migrate, while the Demographic Transition Theory will help to clarify the economical and social transition within a society drawing on the example of Cambodia. The following chapter will aim to explain the occurrence of trafficking especially in Cambodia, complemented with examples of
trafficking. As migrants also often lack information on where to look for help or where to get different kinds of support, this paper also offers some recommendations.

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