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Migration, Crime and Victimhood: Responses to Sex Trafficking in the EU

NCJ Number
Punishment & Society Volume: 5 Issue: 4 Dated: October 2003 Pages: 415-431
Jo Goodey
Date Published
October 2003
17 pages
This article explores marginalized migrants’ experiences of victimization in Europe, specifically sex trafficking. It examines criminal justice responses to women who are trafficked in Europe to work in the EU’s sex industry.
The U.N. Protocol against trafficking demonstrates that trafficking can encompass many forms of bonded labor. This article focuses on sex trafficking and specifically, trafficking in women for the EU sex industry. The number of women being trafficked into the EU from Central and Eastern Europe has grown since the collapse of communist regimes. As the old political and economic order in this area ended, so women suffered, and continue to suffer the brunt of economic hardship. As governments and intergovernmental agencies have come to recognize the scale and problem of sex trafficking, they have scrambled to make legislative reforms in this area. One such reform has been the U.N. Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime which provided the impetus for EU reform. Responses to the problem of sex trafficking have been in the areas of prevention and prosecution and protection. There is the need to recognize victimization where it exists as a human rights abuse. Policy recommendations are suggested in the areas of criminal justice responses and victim-centered responses. This article’s specific focus on sex trafficking has highlighted the victimization of a particular migrant group, poor women from central and east European countries. Their victimization offers a reading of migration and crime that differs from the mainstay of criminological discussion in this field. This means that the majority of legal/illegal migrants, like the majority of EU citizens, are first victims of crime and, second, perpetrators of crime. In conclusion, the victimization of illegal migrants is central to any discussion of migration, crime, and security. References