The Difference Between Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants

Trafficking in persons (TiP) and smuggling of migrants (SoM) directly affect ACP (African, Caribbean and the Pacific Group of States) countries and their European Union counterparts.

World-Day-Against-Trafficking-In-PersonsBoth constitute lucrative and difficult to trace multi-billion dollar businesses whose scale is difficult to quantify and compare reliably. Both involve human beings and criminal networks and are very hard to trace by the authorities.

While numbers of estimated victims of trafficking worldwide vary, they are reported as being in the millions and most importantly, they are constantly on the rise. Additionally, both crimes pose challenges to the protection to migrants.

According to United Nations protocols, both trafficking and smuggling are considered crimes. Though they share some similarities, the two topics refer to different criminal acts — TiP being a crime against an individual while SoM is a crime against the State.

The table below clearly summarises key elements of each act. It must be understood, that in spite of this difference, States tend to have the same cadre of officials dealing with both issues and the crimes are usually interlinked. This is one of many complicating factors that arise when states attempt to tackle TiP and SoM.

This article first appeared in the 4th edition of the ACP-EU Migration Action newsletter. To read the full publication, click here.

The ACP-EU Migration Action supports activities in the areas of strategic interest to the ACP-EU Dialogue on Migration through the provision of on-demand technical assistance that can be requested by all the ACP governmentsand funding to ACP-based Non-State Actors (NSAs) in order to promote civil society’ initiatives.

Categories: Human interest, Women

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