Shafiq R Khan


Migration and trafficking

Migration is understood simply as a process of movement by people from one place to another, with an objective in mind. It is however, a process of some complexity. M.S.A. Rao states, “…it is a shift in the place of residence for some length of time…” (Rao 1986: 19) and is rooted in the economic, socio-cultural, ecological and political realities of a society. It is while examining trafficking in all its dimensions, that one’s attention shifts to migration. The concern of this focus is mainly a search for more effective strategies, to combat trafficking, especially in the area of prevention, without violating the rights of migrants.

Radhika Coomarswamy’s report provides important indicators for the possible intersections between trafficking and migration (United Nations 2000). The two recent reports published by Raymond and Blanchet have made this relationship the basis of their studies. The relationship is stated to be important because an understanding of migration trends and patterns; factors promoting migration; and the processes involved in migration; will play an important role in combating trafficking (Raymond 2002). Unlike the relationship between trafficking and other phenomena, migration and trafficking appear to intersect at almost all levels. It seems that the exploitation of migration by trafficking is the dominant nature of this relationship. Evidently, they first intersect at the crossroads of physical movement. At a structural level it looks as though migration provides the basis and the context in which trafficking occurs. The fact that these contexts create a high degree of vulnerability for the people within them is apparent. That the character of the migration process provides the opportunity and means for the enactment of trafficking is undeniable. The relationship between these two processes suggests a possibility that trends in migration influence trafficking. This chapter is an effort to understand this linkage and influence.


The commonality of the element of movement between the phenomenon of migration and trafficking is the central factor around which this relationship is built. This gives rise to a need for some clarifications at the conceptual level in the Indian context. In the international discourse on trafficking, physical movement to a site of exploitation is an inherent component of the concept. Coomarswamy also states that trafficking is distinguished by a combination of coerced transport and coerced end practice (United Nations 2000:9). However, in the Indian discourse on trafficking, traditional practices followed by Indian tribal populations and the practice of bonded labour creates a dilemma. In such cases the site of exploitation and the place of origin may be the same. These are classified as cases of trafficking, although the component of movement is missing. This particular argument then, points towards a need for further classification and exploration into the question of how people end up in various exploitative circumstances. For instance, should traditional practices be considered a distinct form of recruitment in commercial sexual exploitation or should they be classified under trafficking? If they were to be classified as distinct categories, then it would be possible to have cases of trafficking within recruitment practices based on tradition. Similarly in cases of bonded labour, a distinction may need to be made – between a migrant bonded labour (mostly trafficked) and local bonded labour (Human Rights Watch 1995). These arguments are not applicable in the case of children.

Illegal migration and smuggling

Due to the common component of movement, there is also a lack of clarity in the understanding of the relationship between illegal migration, smuggling and trafficking. These are not overlapping concepts as they are sometimes mistaken to be. The second part of the UN Convention on Organised Crime clarifies the distinction between a smuggled migrant and a trafficked person, the main distinguishing factor being that of coercion (Gallagher 2001). Smuggling refers to a process by which an agency is used to enter a country illegally. This agency is paid for the service either financially, or in the form of material benefit. Smuggling usually suggests an illegal entry into a foreign country; but human trafficking does not necessarily involve border crossing (Icduygu and Toktas 2002: 29). Exploitation is a key element in trafficking, whereas it is not the ‘foremost’ characteristic of smuggling. They also differ in terms of the timeframe of the relationship and profit source (APHRN 2002).

Illegal migration has many variants and refers to people who are without a legal status in the country of residence. This could happen through being smuggled into the country or extending their stay beyond the valid visa dates. The “difference between trafficking and irregular migration is in the level of control that the migrating person has over his/her own actions.” (Briain 2001: 2). Misunderstandings arise mainly due to the likely occurrence of human rights abuses in people smuggling; the lack of sufficient and reliable data because of the illicit nature of these types of migration; and the ability of traffickers to manipulate these processes, to achieve their ends (APHRN 2002: 30; Skeldon 2000).

The exploited migrant and a trafficked person

The issue of consent in physical movement brings to fore, the problem of distinguishing between an exploited migrant and a trafficked person. Trafficked people do not have the opportunity of informed consent with respect to the experiences they undergo (United Nations 2000; ESCAP 2003). Cases of exploited migrants are offences in themselves, but they need not be cases of trafficking. However, the majority of trafficked people will be exploited migrants. The decisive factors in distinguishing between the two will be, the nature of consent; the intention of the agency (that is responsible for them being in that position) involved; and in addition, the difference between the information made available at the start of the journey as compared to the circumstances they find themselves to be in at the end of the journey. Phil Marshalls raises the question of the stage at which a contract dispute would become exploitation. A difficult and complex situation arises when migrants agree to work and accept exploitative relations, perceiving themselves “to be better off than if they stayed home”. Even in the case of a clear distinction, a difficult situation may arise when a “raid on a brothel identifies a 17 year old migrant as a trafficking victim and an 18 year old as an illegal migrant and illegal sex worker”(Marshall 2001).

Relationship at the contextual level

The nature of the relationship between migration and trafficking is characterised mainly by the exploitation of migration through the phenomenon of trafficking. This exploitation occurs at the structural (contextual) level as well at the process (operational/action) level of the two phenomena. At the structural level the migration phenomenon, involving a shift in physical space from a place of origin to a place of destination and its multiple associative aspects, provides the basis for and the context in which trafficking is enacted. It is this population movement, moving for different durations (permanent, semi-permanent and temporary) (Srivastava and Sasikumar 2003) and reasons, which provides the backdrop to trafficking.

The scale of the migration process indicates the pervasiveness and normalcy of the phenomenon and “it spans all countries and virtually affects every town, village and rural area of the world”(IOM n.d.: 10). The 1991 Census of India revealed that internal lifetime migrants (migrants by birthplace) totalled 222.6 million. Female persons constituted 168 million of this number; the ratio of female migrants to the total female population was 40.3 per cent, whereas the ratio of male migrants to the total male population was only 13.9 per cent. “Recent evidence based on NSS figures for 1992-1993 and 1999-2000… suggests an increase in migration rates – from 24.7 per cent to 26.6 per cent over the period. This evidence suggests that the proportion of migrants of both sexes, in both rural and urban areas, increased during the last decade of the 20th century”(Srivastava and Sasikumar 2003).

The circumstances and situations that influence migration are usually examined in terms of push and pull factors. Push factors are associated with sending regions and pull, with receiving regions. These factors are inter-dependent, and are classified as economic, political, socio-cultural or environmental in nature. The push factors include: growing inequalities in wealth between and within countries; economic decline; lack of economic opportunities and under-development of an area, characterised by poverty, under-employment, landlessness and impoverishment among rural populations; discrimination; population pressure; harsh economic policies; limited access to resources; lack of opportunities for local employment that would allow women to explore better jobs, or acquire greater skills to obtain a more secure future; and lack of basic subsistence. The pull factors are listed as: real or perceived differences in wages; more and better employment opportunities in destination areas; demand for female migrant workers in more developed regions; an economic boom in destination areas; a growing number of women and men in destinations who relegate domestic work to hired help; and the increasing acceptance of the practice of prostitution. A dynamic relationship between two regions, involving the interplay of various factors, results in migratory streams, patterns and flows. Some of these are more likely to provide contexts in which people become vulnerable to traffickers. For instance, trafficking is most likely to occur in the context of labour migration, as migration propelled by factors of labour demand and supply, is a dominant mode of migration. Blanchet describes trafficking as an aspect of migration, which occurs in the context of labour migration (Blanchet 2002). Political instability, inequalities, natural disasters, discrimination, and violence within the family, are some of the other factors, which create contexts in which migration is usually undertaken, and in which trafficking is likely to occur. Some other contexts and how people become vulnerable in these contexts are dealt with below. An important reason for the creation of push and pull factors encouraging population movement is the uneven development of regions. Contrary to popular perception, a study of trafficking found that “developed areas with improved infrastructure have invariably been the source as well as the destination of trafficking in women” (Pandey et al. 2002). However, in these areas 79.55 per cent of trafficked people still belonged to landless households and families depending on wage labour for survival (Ibid.). A contention from ‘new economics’ theories may help in explaining these findings, which state that “areas with more unequal income distributions are more likely to send migrants than those where income is less unequally distributed” to “ameliorate a sense of relative deprivation” (Sasikumar 2004).

Globalisation is another important reason for the uneven development of regions. The globalisation process and its level of involvement in a region generate different patterns of migration (Skeldon 1999). Skeldon lists five regional divisions, on which he has elaborated, with reference to women in the Asia Pacific region. Within this, he has identified the patterns that are likely to involve trafficking of women. As internal migration, and especially the migration of women for economic reasons, is not well studied – whether such patterns exist in the Indian context is a subject for further research. Globalisation also leads to the development of improved communication systems, information, and transport systems. These factors fuel people’s desire to move, and affect their decision to move, as they become aware of living standards in developed regions.


Migration then occurs in asymmetrical environments and “always involves relations of power, whether these are between states, cities and rural areas, or regions; between migrants and nonmigrants”( Gardner and Osella 2003). This asymmetry makes migrants vulnerable. Migration becomes a major source for recruits in trafficking, since people in situations that are likely to propel them towards seeking better lives elsewhere, are likely for the same set of reasons, to fall prey to traffickers. The human rights perspective sees trafficking as ‘a crime against migrants’, in which the women’s (migrants) desire to migrate is preyed upon. This group is one of the largest groups vulnerable to traffickers. Women and children are vulnerable to being coerced and deceived at the sources of origin, during the journey while migrating, or at sites of work after reaching the transit point or destination. How people become vulnerable in contexts has been explored according to various factors creating those contexts.

Economic factors

Migrating labour ranges from people who move for personal and professional development, usually middle class professionals, to semi-skilled, unskilled and low-skilled workers, moving to areas offering higher wages for relatively low skills. While migration involves risk for all those who undertake it, whether highly skilled or less so, trafficking mainly involves people at the lower end of the skill level scale. For the latter group, with minimal skills, migration is more an issue of survival. “Internal mobility is critical to the livelihoods of many people, especially tribal people, socially deprived groups and people from resource-poor areas”(Srivastava and Sasikumar 2003). Women and children form the largest group of this unskilled paid labour. According to the 1991 Census of India, a large number of women migrants were agricultural labourers (44.1per cent) and cultivators (37.6 per cent); only 3.2 per cent were in household industries and 15.1 per cent were in other activities. These migrants are “exposed to large uncertainties” (Ibid.) and are also more willing to take risks, so they are likely to get trapped more easily. Migrant labour from this category is also preferred because they may lack the requisite support structures to defend or demand their rights, both during migration and at the new work sites. Their limited ‘bargaining power’ impairs their ability to overcome vulnerability or resist exploitation. Findings from the field survey conducted during this study reiterate that a majority of the respondents (52.4 per cent) were trafficked in the context of a search for livelihood. The socio-economic profiles of women and children interviewed clearly indicate that they belong to the low-skilled workers category. About 50 per cent of the respondents in ARTWAC had a monthly family income of up to Rs.1,000 only. Labour migration satisfies demands for labour at all levels of the economic sector, while trafficking supplies mainly to the unorganised and exploitative sectors of the economy. This is supported by the findings of ARTWAC. The majority of the ‘victims’ were trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation, domestic work, rag picking, begging, and other unskilled jobs. The nature, terms and conditions of work in these sectors gives them little hope of voluntary and legitimate recruitment in the local labour force. They must perforce look for people elsewhere. Migrants searching for better opportunities do manage to find a better life most of the time, but some may become trapped in situations which are exploitative. These people are then at a greater risk of being trafficked. An instance of this may be seen in Nepal, where people move during certain periods of the year, to work in the carpet industry. Conditions of work are exploitative, and women fall for false decent work offers by traffickers (Human Rights Watch 1995, Sangroula 2001:12).

Political factors

Although globalisation has rendered acceptable the movement of goods and capital, the movement of people is not so easily accepted. Strict immigration laws are passed by the state in an attempt to continue to be in-charge of this flow of people. However, it seems as though its authority is in the process of being corroded by the growing incidences of illegal migration and trafficking. This situation is reflected in a recent news report, which estimates the number of illegal Bangladeshi migrants in Delhi alone to be around two lakhs. Authorities are apprehensive of their involvement in illegal activities. Identification and deportation are the main aims of the concerned agencies. Most reports consistently state that restriction on migration tends to encourage illegal migration, which in turn creates higher risks of people being trafficked. Migrants may fall prey to traffickers while looking for means to enter a country illegally, maybe with the help of smugglers. As illegal migrants, they will be at a higher risk of being trafficked, because of their fear and avoidance of authorities, which becomes one of the mechanisms of controlling them. The opposite situation i.e. when the immigration laws are too lax, as in the case of India and its border situation with Nepal, may also create problems. The porous nature of the border between these countries has allowed trafficking to flourish and the close cultural and historical ties make it very difficult to place restrictions.

Another political aspect of the problem is that governments put women and children at risk of being trafficked by failing to provide opportunities for education, shelter, food, employment, relief, access to structures of formal state power and freedom from violence (United Nations 2000).

Situations and contexts are thereby created, which compels them to seek alternatives elsewhere, leading to migration. The absence of appropriate social security measures for women and children in situations of distress forces them to move. These circumstances, which usually remain invisible, place them at risk of being trafficked (Raymond 2002). This is clearly illustrated by the numerous case studies on how women are pushed into the trade.

Refugees or internally displaced people because of political instability due to war, civil strife, state reorganisation, conflict, race and ethnic conflicts, oppression, militarism, internal armed conflict, religious persecution and human rights violations, all generate migration. Most recently, trafficking networks responded to the war in Kosovo and the consequent exodus of refugees by increasing recruitment of Kosovars. In extreme situations people may be willing to go with traffickers in the hope of being rescued and then using the laws and safety nets of the host country to obtain legal migrant status. This has been reported in cases from the European Union where people choose this method, not knowing the extent of exploitation awaiting them (IOM 2001: 11).

Migrant women are also made vulnerable when the state follows policies that are extremely strict towards immigrants. In the Indian context, this aspect becomes relevant only if one considers the emigration of Indian women workers. An example of this maybe seen in the case of Thai and most other Asian women who work in Japan as domestics. They are legal workers but are not allowed to change jobs in the first two years of employment and thus become highly dependent on the whims of their employers. In Singapore and Malaysia, women domestic workers are banned from getting pregnant and are subject to pregnancy tests every six months (Raymond 2002).

Socio-cultural factors

Social discrimination and disturbed families, with problems of alcohol, drug, physical or sexual abuse fuel a desire to move away, especially in the case of girls/women and children who more easily fall for false promises. Women and children in situations of instability trust agencies or people, who may use the opportunity to traffic them. Runaway girls/women and children are at a greater risk of being trafficked. The field data collected for the ARTWAC bears out this point. Among the 561 survivors of commercial sexual exploitation who were interviewed, about 65 per cent of the respondents belonged to troubled and distressed families. Moreover, out of 510 rescued trafficked child labourers who were interviewed, 72 per cent of the respondents whose parents were both alive, were from disturbed and unstable families.

Breakdown of traditional family structures and support systems increases the responsibility of women to support families, who then tend to take greater risks while migrating to provide incomes for their families, by sending remittances. Women also tend to look for alternatives because of their expanding sense of economic and personal autonomy, greater levels of independence and mobility thus increasing the numbers who migrate. They tend to be at a greater risk as they are in a vulnerable position without their community’s support (Raymond 2002).

Demand created by migrants

Another factor playing an important role in creating vulnerability is the preference for women of a certain race or ethnicity. They are considered exotic and sold as such by the sex industry, which puts migrant women of certain ethnicity and cultures at risk, as in the instance of women from Nepal being trafficked to India.

Not only does migration provide trafficking with victims, it plays a crucial role in sustaining the demand, especially in the sex industry. Most studies on prostitution report that migrant labour forms a significant proportion of their clientele. The highway sex-work sector services a mainly commuting population of truck drivers and migrant labour. A preference is shown for women from similar backgrounds, and this may increase a demand for women from certain communities. Ali reports that the possibility of trafficking increases along such routes, where a large number of male migrant labourers in an area create a demand for sex workers of similar linguistic and cultural background, leading to a migration of sex workers (Ali 1997:33) and this may lead to an increase in trafficking from those areas. In a similar vein, the need for anonymity felt by clients in prostitution or by paedophiles encourages sex tourism centres, which in turn encourages trafficking.

Ecological migrants and trafficking

Ecological migrants are people who have been displaced because of environmental factors. Their normal means of livelihood gets disrupted and they are unable to find subsistence from the land. It is usually the destitute and the indigenous people who are most affected. People move because of elemental disruptions, like cyclones or other natural disasters. The destabilisation and displacement of populations increase their vulnerability to exploitation and abuse through trafficking and forced labour (United Nations 2000). Large-scale migration and consequent trafficking of girls has been reported after the cyclone disaster in Orissa, and after the earthquake devastated Latur in Maharashtra. The migrants who try to move out for safety are highly vulnerable to trafficking (Pandy et al 2002). Development, urbanisation, biological disruptions, deforestation, land erosion and lack of access to man-made resources, also lead to large-scale displacement of local populations.

Interplay of consent in migration, trafficking and smuggling

People may consent to certain types of exploitation. “However, a person can never consent to trafficking” (UN. 2003, p.27). Even if there is a manifest consent, it is, in fact, a façade of consent and not ‘informed consent’. Trafficking means much more than the organized movement of persons for profit (Recommended Guidelines of the UN High Commission for Human Rights, 2002). The critical additional factor that distinguishes trafficking from migrant smuggling is the pressure of force, coercion and/or deception throughout, or at some stage, in the process – such deception, force or coercion being used for the purpose of exploitation. In this context, the model developed by ECOSOC explains the interplay among the various related concepts (UN.2003.p.27).

Exploitation of the nature of the migration process

At the level of process, the relationship between migration and trafficking may be defined as being opportunistic in nature and to the advantage of traffickers. The characteristics of the migration process provides traffickers with opportunities to implement their plans and achieve their goals by manipulating it. Possibilities of manipulation are opened due to elements of relocation, use of an agency, the unknown, legitimate reasons and initial investment required while migrating.

The redefinition of social relations and development of new identities is an inherent part of the migration process (Gardner and Osella 2003) due to a shift in physical space. The basic action of moving in migration assists the traffickers in their attempts to ‘relocate’ targets, away from their communities. This movement, which is towards demand centres, is the beginning of the process of isolating them and changing or forging a new identity to that of a person under some one else’s control. For over 90 per cent of the cases interviewed by ARTWAC, a shift in their location was a part of their experience of being trafficked. The exceptions were cases where children of prostitutes were forced into prostitution by their parents.

In cases of deception or fraud, the unascertained elements in the migration process works to the great advantage of the traffickers. The promises they make cannot be easily confirmed, especially in cases where the ‘victims’ are in remote areas, or their literacy and awareness levels are low. The alien and unfamiliar nature of the destinations makes any attempts at escape or possible support for the ‘victims’ difficult. Victims are also transferred from one place to another to ensure anonymity in the initial years (Karmakar 2001:64) and to prevent them from establishing contacts, who might assist them in escaping. This element also assists the traffickers in maintaining a false image. Data collected from survivors and brothel owners during the research substantiates this point of inter-brothel transfer of victims and transfer of victims from brothels to non-brothel based places of exploitation and vice-versa.

Relocation for purposes of work or marriage, are the most likely reasons for undertaking migration. Thus, plans to move away towards a job opportunity, or to move away after marriage, are customary practices and acceptable actions. These existing realities lend weight to trafficker’s arguments and provide a legitimate reason. This is reflected in the figure quoted by the ADB (Asian Development Bank) study, according to which 35 per cent of the women were trafficked from Nepal on the pretext of good jobs and marriages (ADB 2002:15). The data from ARTWAC shows that a majority of them were lured by promises of ‘good jobs’, employment with good emoluments or vocations. 52.4 per cent of ‘survivors’ stated this as a reason. Around 68 per cent of the ‘victims’ and 74.5 per cent of the interviewed trafficked child labourers also stated this as a reason for being deceived by the traffickers.

In India, a high percentage of female migration is due to marriage. Traffickers often use promises of marriage or fake marriages as a means of shifting women from their families and communities. One study reveals the case of a trafficker who “married thirty Nepalese girls in one year, selling them one by one to Indian brothels and then returning to Nepal to marry again” (Shalini 1996: 40). A study on international migration in the context of Bangladesh and India describes this process in detail. Agents working on both sides of the border send a matchmaker, usually a female who is an original resident of a nearby village, to find recruits. A secret marriage is conducted, and they move across borders, illegally assisted by a smuggling agent. The girl is then sold to another. Even if she is not sold, she is taken to her husband’s place, where she is kept in slave-like conditions and made to work in the bangle factories in exploitative conditions. “They do not consider Bengali girls as human beings, rather commodification has reached to such an extent that they are in a position to treat them in any manner whatsoever” (Association 1995: 16). Another aspect of this is reflected in media reports, which speak about large-scale trafficking of girls from Orissa and Assam, to Haryana and Punjab for ‘marriage’.

The process of migration requires an initial investment. The amount depends on the distance and nature of the process. Traffickers offer to provide these amounts, especially to people in conditions of poverty, and thus easily befriend their victims and gain their trust. Later, this amount is used as a means of controlling them in the form of a debt bondage, which the victims are told they have to pay back. “The fee charged by Chinese agents for smuggling and trafficking persons to premium destinations such as the USA, ranges from US$30,000-50,000, which may imply lifetime slavery or bondage for repayment” (Wickramasekera 2002: 24).

Modern transportation facilitates large-scale movement of people over longer distances, which in turn facilitates the traffickers in moving people more conveniently and in larger numbers.

Social networks

For a normal migration process to be initiated, some form of a link is an essential component in the decision to migrate. This link may be in the form of job offers, a friend or relative in the city, an agent, or some information about existing opportunities elsewhere. One of the most potent contributory factors to this aspect of the migration process is the social network or ‘migrant community network’. These networks are established over time and act as links between labour supplies and markets. The networks and links are crucial, and provide the necessary support systems for successful migration. Such networks are not always “composed of primordial links” (Gardner and Osella 2003). They gain members legally and illegally. Existence of similar networks in trafficking has been confirmed from the fieldwork in this study.

Some of the most socially isolated and deprived families may not “have access to such social networks” (Gardner and Osella 2003). Traffickers assume the role of an agency providing this link. Migration and trafficking then, may move in sync, in a series of similar steps, but the intention of the agency inducing the movement and the end purpose in trafficking are entirely different in nature. In trafficking, while the process is ongoing, the victim’s perception of what is happening is different from the trafficker’s. Even if consent is manifest, it is in fact a façade of consent and not ‘informed consent’ (ESCAP 2003). This deception makes it difficult to identify victims and traffickers in transit.

In migration, “locations between which migrants travel remain closely interconnected through flows of ideas, people and goods” (Gardner and Osella 2003). As former migrants, traffickers are themselves most likely to maintain such links. These original migrants are potential traffickers because of their local knowledge of source and destination areas. They are the people who will have local knowledge, cultural or geographical, of source as well as destinations, while also being familiar with transportation routes. Data collected from brothel owners substantiates the fact that they go back to their villages of origin for fresh recruits. Sangroula states that a “segment of pimps grew out of the Nepalese workforce in India … the high demand for Nepalese girls in India attracted a number of migrant Nepalese workers in smuggling of girls from Nepal”(Sangroula 2001: 10). Case study no. CS-GA-1 (see Volume II for details) shows that when law enforcement caught up with the recruiters from Karnataka, the outflow to Goa diminished. However the traffickers’ linkages continued the trafficking, and met with the demand situation in Baina, Goa, by turning to Andhra Pradesh as their source of recruitment.

The migration process in general is said to involve considerable risk during transit between place of origin and destination. The experience of migration is that of being uprooted and alienated. Migrants experience multiple ruptures from family, friends and community, leading to this displacement being a traumatic experience. At the destination point they face numerous challenges, like new languages, ignorance of cultural variations and vulnerability to exploitation by employers, especially for persons in domestic work, or in workplaces unregulated by safety, health, decent conditions and minimum wage protections (Abella 2001). Trafficking, because it involves migration, includes all of the above. In addition, trafficked people undergo the trauma of dealing with the criminal means employed to transfer them and the loss of control over their lives and bodies. As a consequence of being trafficked, it is most likely that trafficked people will remain migrants, even after achieving a certain level of independence from their exploiters over a period of time, due to a real or perceived lack of options and alternatives. For instance, women in cases of commercial sexual exploitation may not desire to return home because of the stigma or the mindset of being ‘spoilt’. Where children are concerned, even if they manage to escape, they will often not be able to find their way home, and thus the chances of being further exploited are high. To achieve the aim of long-term labour exploitation they are compelled by their exploiters to stay on at the destinations.

Migration and cross border operations in trafficking

The movement towards a destination may correspond to internal migration or to external migration. In the case of movement across borders, the nature of the process with its requirement of various documents, immigration and border checks, influences the nature of the trafficking process. Greater resources and planning are needed for trafficking to be successful. Thus there is more likelihood of organised crime, networks across borders, involvement of smugglers and forgers. Traffickers may use legal or illegal means of entry and exit:

_ Legal entries and exits are made by using normal immigration procedures, like family reunification programmes or student or tourist visas. For instance, twenty-five million persons enter the United States annually with temporary visas, such as tourist and student visas. Traffickers, using forged or legal documents, make use of these options. Once women enter, they can be moved from place to place, overstay the temporary visa time period, and kept in prostitution until they are caught or leave the country by other means (Raymond 2002).

Legal exit but illegal entry occurs when the necessary entry visas cannot be obtained from the desired country of destination, but the individual can obtain the necessary passport and exit permits”(Skeldon 2000: 24). They legal passports are usually stamped with false visas.

Illegal exit and illegal entry involves the use of fake documents or no documents, and usually includes a bribe to the officials or border guards. People may be moved using a combination of land, sea or air. They may use smugglers for assistance in trafficking people. Wickramasekera quotes from a study by Linard, “With no visa and little money, many prospective migrants have no choice but to turn to the modern day slave traders. In addition to the risks they run (including being sent home if caught) it could cost them US$3,000 to go from the Philippines to Kuwait, between US$4,000 and US$6,000 from Bangladesh to Germany, and US$25,000 from China to the United States” (Wickramasekera 2002: 20).

The influence of migration trends on trafficking

Given the above relationship, it is likely that migration trends may influence trends in trafficking. It is not possible to draw any conclusions, but similarities in observed patterns have been noted. In an attempt to examine the influence of migration trends on trafficking, the first element that comes to mind is the apparent similarity of direction towards the destination points taken by migration and trafficking – i.e. most “trafficking routes replicate migration routes”(United Nations 2000: 23). This becomes evident if one examines the directions of international migration and trafficking. Trafficking routes move inwards, from Bangladesh and Nepal to India, and out, towards the Middle East. These routes correspond to international migration routes. Case study No. CSTN- 2 substantiates the point that traffickers use known migration routes to avoid detection and carry on trafficking under the façade of migration. Case study no. CS-UP-1 shows that in nine months time, the number of people who migrated from Nepal to India was 3,535. Of these, 100 persons were suspected to be involved in trafficking. Their detailed interaction showed that 65 were trafficked girls and 35 were male traffickers. They were promptly handed over to the Nepalese authorities and thereby the 65 girls were saved from trafficking. Although no statistics can be quoted to confirm this, most reports indicate that an increase in the volume of migration has been accompanied by an increase in the number of people being trafficked internally and across borders. Rural areas are the predominant source of migrants, and correspondingly, ARTWAC found that 68.6 per cent of trafficked women and children were from rural areas. Another similar pattern is observed when data on inter-state migration and intra-state migration is compared to results from ‘trafficked victims’ movements. According to the 1991 census, the percentage of women who moved for employment purposes within districts in their states was 44.8; and 18.9 per cent moved to other states. ARTWAC found that among the twelve states studied, eight of them had a higher percentage of women being trafficked within the state. In the case of short duration migration, a higher percentage of women are among the inter-state migrants (27.9 per cent). As the necessary data is missing, no conclusions can be drawn. A significant difference is seen in the case of migration streams. The dominant stream in migration is from rural to rural but in the case of trafficking, the dominant movement is towards urban centres. The low rate of rural to urban migration for females suggests an unavailability of supportive networks. This absence may assist traffickers.

The trend of increasing number of women moving in the Asia Pacific region has led to a “feminisation of migration” which means that the population movements in the region are being dominated by women (Skeldon 1999: 5). This in turn is because of the “feminisation of poverty” in the region and world over, due to many complex factors. (United Nations 2000: 20). This trend may also be one of the causal factors, for the increase in trafficking of women in the region. Among inter-state economic migrants, the “southern states have a comparatively larger share in female economic migrants” (Srivastava and Sasikumar 2003: 5). In the sample of ‘victims’, and survivors who were interviewed in this study, it was found that the three states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are among the top five source areas. Brothel owners also identified these three states among the top five source areas. The relationship if any, between an increasing number of women migrants and trafficking in India, is not fully explored. Some migration studies on women in India have taken notice of the category of female migrants who migrate out of economic necessity, in significant numbers, and not as part of a household or because of marriage.

In the case of short duration migration a higher percentage of women are among the migrants. Another trend in the Asian region is of migrant flows to international destinations are being increasingly dominated by semi-skilled and unskilled workers. They typically face numerous problems in sending and receiving countries, as they lack bargaining power. This category generally comprises construction workers and female domestic workers. As seen earlier, they are also more vulnerable to traffickers. This trend may be responsible for an increase in trafficking (Wickramasekera 2002:15).

The commercialisation of the recruitment industry is an important feature. They follow various malpractices and have played a role in the increase of irregular migration, which in turn makes people more vulnerable to traffickers. “They tend to send workers abroad without firm job orders and charge exorbitant fees. This is a common practice in the Middle East where sending country agents link up with local intermediaries (kafeels or sponsors) to recruit labour, which may have no relationship to actual employer demand. The outcome is that a large number of workers who enter countries such as Bahrain or Kuwait, find that there are no jobs waiting for them, and immediately fall into irregular status and traps” (Wickramasekera 2002: 17, 24). Blanchet, in her study also reports similar instances.

The likelihood of male migrants being employed after rural-urban migration is higher than for females, and this unemployment status in unfamiliar surroundings could make them vulnerable to trafficking. According to the 1991 Census Report, 55 per cent of the male migrants were employed after migration. While only 13 per cent of female migrants were employed after migration.

“Thus among females, moving from a rural to urban area apparently lowered the likelihood of being employed”(United Nations 1994:6). Illegal migrants are perceived as a threat and are treated as criminals when they themselves could be victims of trafficking. Discourse over this issue is dominant in receiving countries, especially the developed regions, which usually follow a policy of repatriation of trafficked people.

Case study No. CS-DL-33 substantiates the point. In spite of the fact that the young girl was trafficked from Bangladesh to Mumbai, she was declared an illegal immigrant and penalised. (see Volume II for details).

Solutions to trafficking from a migration perspective

An understanding of migration will play a significant role in formulating preventive strategies, as it assists in identifying the vulnerable section; in identifying likely supply areas; routes followed; and guide interventions in transit. In the concern to combat trafficking, it should not be forgotten that many of the women and children initially desired to move. This movement is initiated in the hope of finding a better life and finding solutions. Therefore any intervention must keep in focus the human rights perspective of the migrant person. Phil Marshall suggests that the problem of trafficking should be resolved from the point of view of migration. He is critical of the response of governments, NGOs and various networks, which equate trafficking with organised crime, which he feels has proved ineffective. According to him as long as markets exist, as seen by past efforts, law enforcement agencies remain unable to deal adequately with issues like prostitution or drug control. Monitoring forced labour would be more effective than border monitoring when combating trafficking. He emphasises the need to recognise the fact that people will continue to migrate, as it is a rational human response. While discussing trafficking in the international context, Marshall suggests that the view that the major cause of trafficking is irregular migration be acknowledged; and feels an appropriate change in the response would be needed to tackle it. A migration based approach is suggested. This would involve regularisation of migration; re-examination of the issue of sex work; providing alternatives to migration; protecting the rights of migrants and facing the challenges of rescue, return and reintegration. He also suggests the building of capacities to measure the impact of trafficking programmes, like the Inter Agency Participatory Project, to track migration over time, from selected villages in different areas (Marshall 2001). Mapping of migration routes may assist in understanding the direction and flow of people. This will prove useful, not only in identifying likely supply and destination areas of trafficking, but will also assist in monitoring whether it has increased or decreased. It may also provide clues as to the areas which should be targeted, for awareness building.

Monitoring foreigners entering the country and maintaining records may assist in tracing the offenders, especially in cases of sex tourism. The onus is on the state to promote socio-economic development of areas of significant migration so people are provided with choices other than migration. Moreover, it would be a useful exercise to provide agencies dealing with trafficking vital indicators that would enable them to distinguish between a migrant and a person who has been or is being trafficked. This may prove helpful not only in preventing people from being trafficked in transit, but also help in rescue work. As Blanchet states “Seeking to document trafficking elements within the migratory scenario, emphasis was given to the following points: Who initiated the process and who decided the migration? Who paid for it? Who accompanied the migrant? What was the work promised and what was the work actually demanded or forced upon the woman? How did the woman consent/or not consent to the demands made on her? How did she cope with her decision afterwards? Did she earn as promised and could she control her income? How did her family receive her as she returned? Was she empowered within her family or community following migration, or did the opposite happen?”(Blanchet 2002: 16). Some other characteristics which need to be documented are the level of freedom of movement a person has; the lack of fear and self image; knowledge of local sites, transport routes, neighbourhood; a basic knowledge of the local language; and above all, an awareness of her rights. The Sanauli experiment (see case study no. CS-UP-1) was appreciated by all concerned because it was not an intervention into migration, but an exercise in generating awareness of rights and in doing so, the police and social workers could separate trafficked victims from migrants. (see Volume II for details).

There is a need to re-examine laws for migrant labour to provide them better protection from exploitative employers and widen the ambit of the law to include other types of workers besides construction labour.

Summary and conclusion

Some of the similarities between migration and trafficking which stand out are that they both involve movement; usually have some kind of an agency or network involved in this movement; thrive in poverty, unstable conditions and disruptions created by different factors; and follow similar directions in space. They are both influenced by factors like labour demand and supply, globalisation and state policy. The differences are that the intention of the agent in trafficking is always exploitation, it is non-consensual; always exploitative; and unlike migration, is totally demand driven. Even if there is consent, it is not “informed willing” consent, obtained after apprising the person of the entire situation. Thus migration and trafficking directly influence each other in matters of direction, volume, and the nature of the process. The relation is manipulative in terms of opportunities, recruits and exploiters. Exploitation is the hallmark of this relationship, as trafficking occurs, subsumed under this ongoing movement of people, driven by its own demand for people and exploiting the migration process to achieve its agenda.

Migration and trafficking are inextricably linked to each other, although they are different processes. Besides providing the base for trafficking, it is observed that the situations and circumstances influencing people to migrate are the same factors that make them vulnerable to traffickers. Migrants form one of the potential target groups for traffickers, making them vulnerable at all stages of the migration process. Traffickers use the uncertainties and risks involved in the migration process to their own advantage. To turn a normal human being into an obedient slave, they commit the grossest forms of human rights violations. Trends in the migration process influence trafficking because of the links between the two processes.

In conclusion, one can say that migration is an important phenomenon that influences and sustains trafficking by providing an easy supply of people. The discussion presents in detail, the points of distinction between migration and trafficking as well as the linkages between the two. Understanding the relationship between migration and trafficking is crucial to helping us understand the process of trafficking and in mapping the vulnerability of geographical areas. It is a critical component in planning effective preventive and other strategies to combat trafficking, while still protecting the people’s right of movement..(Anita lodhi)

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