Root causes

The Root causes or the reasons why persons end up in a situation of human trafficking are divers. Poverty, conflict, inequality, the absence of viable employment opportunities or social support and discrimination are among the main reasons for people to seek opportunities abroad. The lack of safe and legal migration opportunities and the general demand for cheap and exploitative labour combined with the lack of legal protection, exposes large groups of people to a considerable risk of exploitation and abuse.

The EU’s restrictive immigration policies negatively impact on the situation of migrants in various ways. Many migrant workers with precarious, dependent or irregular status experience conditions below those required by minimum labour standards, in terms of pay, working time, rest periods, sick leave, holiday, and health and safety. They are often not identified as victims or persons in need of support, but detained or deported. There is also an increasing demand for repressive measures against prostitution, such as criminalising clients. This adds to the marginalisation and stigmatisation of sex workers and increases their dependency on the services of third parties, thus making them more vulnerable to abuse.

Read more about the protocols and conventions to combat human trafficking.