Focus on Root Causes

  • According to La Strada, anti-trafficking policies should focus on the causes of trafficking instead of only on the consequences. The root causes can be identified at the three phases of the trafficking process:

1) Poverty, gender inequality and violence and discrimination in the countries of   origin – Fighting these root causes is in line with the Millennium Development Goals: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, Achieve universal primary education, Promote gender equality and empower women.

2) Lack of safe and legal migration opportunities due to restrictive immigration policies – There is a need for more tolerant and flexible immigration policies and liberalised labour regulations. Start an innovative and open international debate on labour migration is needed in which current trends in labour migration and the reality of migrant workers are central.

3) Demand for cheap and exploitative labour and the lack of protection for irregular workers – Attention must be paid to labour protection in those sectors or activities where forced labour or services are likely to occur. Informal and unregulated work activities should be brought within the protection of Labour laws to ensure that all workers enjoy the same labour rights. Criminalisation of those who make use of services or products from trafficked persons will only have a symbolic value and can actually harm those in vulnerable situations. Empowering people by protecting their rights is more effective. All states, but especially countries of destination/employment, should ratify, implement and enforce the UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant workers and their Families.