In focus: Irregular migration and trafficking in human beings

      Trafficking in human beings (THB) is a serious crime, often committed within the framework of organised crime, a gross violation of fundamental rights and explicitly prohibited by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and other international human rights conventions. Preventing and combating trafficking in human beings is a priority for the European Union and its Member States. THB is subject to a directive in the European Union.

      This illegal and despicable trade earns organised criminals many billions of dollars each year. According to UNODC, such trafficking is conducted most commonly for the purpose of sexual slavery, forced labour or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others.

      One of the key tasks of the Mission has been to assist Moldova and Ukraine to establish Integrated Border Management; IBM is the cornerstone of the EU’s border security system. A well-implemented IBM helps prevent and combat illegal activities such as THB. The Mission has focused on helping partner services to build the infrastructure, institutional and operational capacity, and legislative base for combatting THB and other cross border crimes.

      As part of their Association Agreements with the EU, Moldova and Ukraine must demonstrate they are capable of cooperating with the EU on migration, asylum and border management.   During 2015, the Mission has been carrying out a wide-ranging programme to transfer knowledge to partner services on profiling potential THB victims. EUBAM assisted partners to apply for access to the relevant EU databases, which would help them combat THB (eg on forged travel documents). The Mission worked with Sweden on a project to enhance partners’ operational capacity to fight irregular migration.

      Each year EUBAM prepares an annual report on “Irregular Migration and Trafficking in Human Beings at the Moldova-Ukraine Border” with contributions from all the relevant national partners: the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Moldova (Border Police Department, Bureau for Migration and Asylum and the Centre for Combating Trafficking in Persons of the General Police Inspectorate), the State Border Guard Service, State Migration Service, the Security Service and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, the Missions of the International Organization for Migration in Moldova and Ukraine, and Frontex. The Report provides an overview of the national and wider regional context of irregular migration and trafficking in human beings in Moldova and Ukraine, and highlights new trends. The 2015 report noted the improvement of the legislative and institutional base of border and migration management systems in the framework of visa liberalisation efforts in Moldova and Ukraine, and an overall steady trend of irregular migration and THB in those countries as well as an enhanced control of those phenomena.