Elena Tiuriukanova


Legitimizing migration space: migrant women's labor, trafficking and illegal migration (problems in conjunction)



The international migration is an integral part of modern world economy. The interrelations between migration and global economic development are the subject of complexity – these are two processes not only mutually provoking, but also mutually challenging each other. On the one hand, the global changes are accompanied by intensification of international migrations; on the other hand, it is recognized, that "people are less mobile, than money, goods or ideas: they always belong to any state, are dependent on the passports, visas, residence permits and market conditions of work ". The development of migration today is extremely contradictory.


Contradictions between the receiving and sending countries, as well as between national interests of the states and human rights of the individuals become aggravated today. The established scheme of international migratory relations can not be recognized as effective one, because it results in spread of the conflicts and discriminative practices concerning some groups of migrants (women, in the first instance) and some countries. Migration policy of the receiving and sending countries is formed for the large extent by a "trial and error" method. It is paradoxical, but fact, that the basic lesson, which can be taken from the accumulated international experience in the field of migration, is that in modern democratic society based on liberal tradition, there is no tool to ensure effective migration relations. The inefficiency of today's international migration is resulted in huge illegal migration consisting of cheap and deprived labor, significant and most vulnerable part of which is represented by women. No one state can confirm that it has developed an effective instrument for combating illegal immigration. These illegitimate, but, nevertheless existing in vast volumes, migrations, practically represent irrational form, in which the idea of freedom of movement displays itself today, turning thus to its quasi-form.


1. The recent features of migration development


For the second half of ÕÕ century the nature and the structure of international moving have undergone the significant changes that are important for understanding of today's reality and the extent to which we can control migration flows. Bellow is the brief review of occurring processes.


v                 Because of internationalization of economy, on the one hand, and inequality of countries' development, on the other hand, labor migration has got unprecedented socio-economic and political meaning in the contemporary world, having turned really in a global phenomenon. Today all countries are involved in an international labor exchange. According to the ILO estimations, there are 120 - 200 million of only legal labor migrants in the world, as compared to 75 million in 1965. A difference in a standard of living and economic opportunities in the different countries - basic driving force of such migration. In 1995 hourly wages in the industrial sector made up $ 0,25 USD in India and China, $ 0,6 - in Russia, $ 2,09 - in Poland against $ 17,20 in USA, $ 23,66 - in Japan, $ 31,88 - in Germany.


The economic inequality and difference in the life standards between countries forms trajectories of migrations, raising directed migration flows. The basic directions of movings make up a global migration scenario, in which various countries and regions play the role. In migration theory and practice countries are classified by receiving, sending and countries of transit. However recently this model loses the clearness due to growing number of countries which can be attributed to two or even to all three groups. A classical example of such "shift of roles" is represented by countries of southern Europe (Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey), and also Russia, which turn to be the countries with double sending/receiving migration status.


v                 Steady labor migration for some last decades has resulted in segmentation of the labor market in receiving countries and allocation of kinds of work, which migrants are mainly engaged in. These are not prestigious workplaces with heavy working conditions and low payment, which do not require high qualification. Migrant women are engaged basically in sector of entertainment, including sex-industry, public service and domestic work. Feminization of migration of flows is considered by experts as characteristic feature of the newest stage of international labor migration development. In many respects it is connected with structural changes in the world economy due to global economic restructuring in post-war period: relative decrease of production oriented sector of the world economy and growth of service oriented sector, in a broader sense called service economy. The increasing domination of service sector in the employment structure forms migration challenge of the industrialized nations to the less developed countries - constantly growing need for female migrants to be engaged in unskilled work in services. The sex - industry (including sex-tourism) became a component of global "service economy". This is well-organized and globally controlled highly profitable business practically not knowing the national borders. Spheres of sexual and so called near-sexual services provide today potential female migrants from donor countries with the biggest part of migration opportunities.


v                 For the last 10-15 years perceptions about a role of women in migration have changed dramatically. Traditionally during long time it was explicitly or implicitly presumed, that an absolute majority of "independent" labor migrants are men. Women were considered as "dependent" or "secondary" migrants who have no their personal goal but just follow the family or the husband. Since 1980 international communities began to undertake the steps to make migrant women and their problems visible on a social level and open for social (including migration) policy. It was initiated under the influence of feminist ideas and women's movement. The Expert Group on International Migration Policy and Status of Migrant Women was organized by the UN Population Division and the first meeting of this Group was conducted in 1990. This meeting appeared to be a key point for the development of gender sensitive approach to migration issues. Its basic result consists in ascertaining that women represent, alongside with male workers, key "actors" in international migration, that is independent and active participants of migration processes.


Thus, at the highest international level the myth that female migration has basically the "secondary" character, and women do not initiate migration, but only follow the husbands was destroyed. Even the special term has appeared identifying migrant woman as "unattached migrants " (that is independent - "not attached" to a husband or to a family).


The statistics confirms, that women's participation in international migration approximately is equal to men's one. According to the census data of the main receiving countries, women make up 48% of all migrants. And, there are some sectors in the labor market, where migrant women make up an absolute majority of population, as it is, for example, for entertainment industry.


v                 The growth of population mobility (as well as it is in case of goods, finance and information) leads to the necessity of the essential shifts in state/governmental management of these processes. The contradiction between transnational character of economic and social processes and institutes, on the one hand, and national concept of management of these processes and institutes, on the other hand, becomes more and more obvious. This contradiction is expressed in, so-called, crisis of management. Just as governments lose millions dollars of the annual taxes due to internationalization of economy and the growth of international financial transactions estimated hundreds millions dollars daily, it begins also impossible for the state to keep the control above the population movement. It results in huge growth of illegal migration. According to the American Service of Immigration and Naturalization, the number of illegal migrants in the USA in 1996 estimated as 4.6 up to 5.4 million. In Russia, by our estimation, there is more than 3.5 million of illegal labor migrants. Women because of the various reasons, which will be explained bellow, are concentrated on an illegal pole of migration.


v                 Steady migration flows during some time result in establishing migration networks, which connect immigrants in the receiving countries with the country of origin. These networks reduce costs and risks of migration, and support migration flow, even when the objective forces, which excited migration weakened, or factors, which constrain migration (for example, restrictive immigration policy), strengthened. The development of new information and communication technologies, ways of money transfer and modern transport promotes the growth of such networks. For migrant women these networks are especially important, as women more often have to use informal channels of migration. Such networks also restrain the ability of the national states to control migration.


v                 It is necessary to mention one more important moment, inherent for the newest period of migration development. The discussions about migration issues have shifted to a human rights context that affected the nations' policy in this field (though probably in more declarative way). The discrimination practices in relation to migrants, though is still used in the countries of democratic tradition, but is exposed to criticism from the human rights organizations and liberal political movements. The migration more and more frequently becomes a trump in political games and distribution of power. The right parties quite often use "migration card", playing on disapproving attitude of a part of population to the immigrants.


2. Migrant women's labor as a major factor of discrimination


The reasons of marginalization of female labor migrants lay in the objective economic sphere. They can be explained, first of all, by the specific character of work, which migrant women do and consequently by their role in economy of host societies. Let's consider a position of migrant women in the international labour market.


A specific international division of labor has appeared in the labor markets of the main industrialized countries as a result of double - national and gender – segregation of workers. Some specific niches filled mainly by migrants are allocated. Within these niches the typically female sectors of employment are formed, representing the most discriminative, informal and criminal segments of migrants' employment. These niches mainly include:


·                    entertainment industry (dancers in restaurants and clubs, striptease actresses, etc.),

·                    public services (lowest personnel of hotels, bars, fitness-centers, etc.),

·                    domestic services (nurses, house workers, care of children, aged and sick people),

·                    sex-services.


The marginal position of migrant women is mainly connected with the character and the historically formed status of their work.


These kinds of work female migrants usually engaged in, traditionally was not recognized and de facto is not recognized now as an equal by its social and economic meaning to other kinds of work. Some types of service work, according to the well-known feminist thesis, shift from the private sphere of activity to the public one, having kept the low social status, typical for private home work. In the poor families this work is carried out, as a rule, by female members of the family. In the middle class families in the developed countries this work is frequently done by wage worker – usually by migrant women. In the process of structural changes in employment models of middle class women in the industrialized nations, work of female migrants from the "third world countries" turn to be an instrument that helps to support and to develop egalitarian gender models in host societies.


The thesis that the work, which is usually done by migrant women, represents the work "of the lower rate" and one of the most non-prestigious spheres of employment may be confirmed by migrant women's wages. According to the data of our sample survey, in the group of low-paid labor migrants (up to USD 500 per month) the ratio of women and men makes up 3:1, while in the group of highly paid migrants (more than USD 1000 per month) this proportion changes to the opposite one: 1:3 (1 woman per every 3 men) (see diagram).


Distribution by sex in the groups of low-paid (right) and

highly paid (left) labor migrants





Occurring devaluation of types of work, which migrants are engaged in, besides the objective economic dimensions has also subjective expression. This is a negative social image of migrant women – kind of stigma - based on a stereotype, that they usually do not-prestigious, socially blamed work, that is sex – employment, for example.


3. Female migration as a "zone" of social risk: trafficking in women, prostitution and migration


The specificity of female labor migration is connected not only with existence of typical sectors of migrant women's employment and not prestigious character of work, but also with some other moments. These are:


·                    the flexibility of working conditions, which use to be hardly regulated in contracts,

·                    individual ("hired-by-piece") character of work (as compared to the team-work of construction workers, for example)

·                    socio-demographic features of migrants (young and very young age, incomplete education)

·                    strong latent motives (marriage, emigration).


Due to all these moments female migration as a whole may be recognized as a "zone" of high risks and mass violations of the human rights. Especially it concerns marginal employment, including sex-employment itself, and so-called, near-sex-employment, which frequently appears to be associated with sex-services (dancing, striptease, "consummation" – special “girl” in a bar  to make clients to spend more money, escort-service, model business, etc.). The stigma, which exists in public consciousness in relation to the prostitution can be referred also to the near-sexual employment. According to the data of our study, for 26 % of the respondents these kinds of employment practically merge with prostitution and sex-exploitation.


The distribution of answers to a question:

"Whether the offers for dancers, "hostess" in a bar or girl for

"consummation" abroad actually mean the sex-work?










Hesitate to answer




"Sex excluded" means migration breakdown ?


The described spheres of risk provide the majority of migration opportunities for women from less developed countries. The majority of firms offering work abroad for women, do not really exclude sex-service. Underground (not licensed – for Russia) firms openly offer sex-employment, the official organizations do offer the same but under various "labels" hiding the real offer. As a rule, in the published announcement of work abroad in entertainment services we can read: "Sex excluded". However in reality if woman wants to work outside of "intimate services" and excludes for herself sex-employment, the range of possible variants of migration for her is narrowing dramatically.


In the international migration industry migrant women for a long time have played a role of cheap providers of various services, first of all, sexual and near-sexual, occupying the most marginal niches in the labor markets of the receiving countries. By estimations, there are about half a million of foreign prostitutes working in Europe. In Germany and Italy three of four prostitutes are visitants, in Holland – one of two. According to the data of the IOM, recruiters of illegal migrants annually earn from 5 to 7 billions USD. The considerable part of this money come from sex-trade. It is well organized international criminal business on traffic of the women from one country to another with the purpose of sexual exploitation.


The recent wave of "Russian" (Russian-speaking would be more precise) prostitution in the West, which had a broad resonance in western mass media, simply speaks about appearance of our women on a world migration arena. They came after similar sex-waves from Philippines, China, Colombia (60s-70s), and then Poland, Bulgaria, Romania (second half of 80s). In 1997 175 thousand women and girls were sold from Central and Eastern Europe, including countries of CIS, in the developed countries of Europe and America. Exit from isolation of Central and Eastern Europe, including former USSR, has initiated new re-division of western sex-markets.


In spite of the fact that traffic in women have already drawn for a long time attention of the international organizations the comprehensive definition of this phenomenon has just begun to be developing. Because of the complexity of the phenomena and also absence of a universal usage of the word "trafficking", there is a substantial inconsistency in counting the numbers of trafficked women in different countries, as well as in understanding and addressing the phenomena.



4. Traffic in women: Definitions and Key Points


1.                  IOM definition.


"Trafficking in human beings is defined by IOM as: “The illicit engagement (by recruiting, kidnapping, selling, etc.) and/or movement of migrants, either within national or across international borders, whereby intermediaries (traffickers) obtain economic or other profit by means of deception, coercion and/or other forms of exploitation under conditions that violate the fundamental human rights of migrants" .[1]


2.                  The draft “Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children” (supplement to the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime) definition:[2]


Trafficking in persons means the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the treat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.


The other relevant definitions are:


(a)                “Slavery” shall mean the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised;

(b)               “Forced labor” shall mean labor or services obtained through force or the threat of force, or by the use of coercion, or through any scheme or artifice to defraud, including debt bondage;

(c)                “Servitude” shall mean the status or condition of dependency of a person who is [unjustifiably] compelled by another person to render any service and who reasonably believes that he or she has no alternative but to perform the service;

(d)               “Trafficking in persons” shall include the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of any child, or giving payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control of a child. This being done with the aim of using, procuring or offering a child for slavery, forced labor, servitude, prostitution or for the production of pornography.

(e)                “Child” shall mean any person under 18 years of age.


These definitions make explicit reference to a range of forms of power and domination, which vitiate consent, such as coercion, debt bondage, abuse of authority and threats and deception.


These definitions of trafficking in human beings like any others contain a number of key moments, which arise some misunderstanding:


·                    First of all the purpose of traffic – to get financial or other benefits. In this all approaches are uniform.


·                    The sphere of trafficking is determined widely than only sex-exploitation, but as exploitation of any labor resulted in human rights violation. Trade in people and slavish work are considered as very similar and tightly linked notions, widely used in the international documents, national legislations and mass media. Narrower treatment of trafficking in women as forced prostitution is also frequently used.


·                    The concept of trafficking in human beings differs from the notions of illegal migration and smuggling of people through national borders. The first concept assumes also the usage of legal channels for trafficking, as frequently namely legal channels are used by criminal groups.


·                    It is necessary also to note, that traffic in people is global process referring not only to women, but also to children and men. However the scope of women' exploitation for commercial profits is much more significant.


·                    The basic stumbling-block in the definition of trafficking and at the same time key moment of discrepancy in understanding of this phenomenon is the question about voluntariness and coercion in relation to both migration and work, and also about exploitation of "sold" people. It is not agreed yet what does exploitation mean, where it begins, and where comes to an end? If woman pays thousand dollars to be forwarded to another country and to get work (including sex-work) there, whether she can be considered as a victim of exploitation or trafficking? Some years ago most of experts would answer “No”. It was accepted that a criterion of identifying a concrete action as trafficking should be existence of any violent actions, constraint or deceit. For "decoding" the notion of exploitation the concrete forms of human rights violation are usually introduced:


Ø            physical and psychological violence,

Ø            threat,

Ø            withdrawal of the documents,

Ø            debt bondage,

Ø            forced labor,

Ø            restriction of freedom of movement,

Ø            deceit,

Ø            infringement of the labor contract (under-pay, increased duration of working day, unacceptable working conditions)

Ø            and others.


Trafficked women's conditions of work

Ðåãèîíû âûåçäà

Central Europe

Eastern Europe


Developing countries

Passport taken away




Restriction of movement




Working hours: 13 – 18




Forced to work without a condom




Physical violence




Victim's family threatened




Number of cases




Source: STV, 1995[3]


Some years ago it was commonly accepted that it is important to make a distinction between people, who are forced or tricked into being trafficked for prostitution, and those, who choose to migrate for this particular work. Nowadays people, who voluntary choose to migrate for sex-work, but are then subjected to exploitation, are also classified as trafficked persons and the human rights violations suffered by these people are to be taken on the equal basis with forced workers. If, according to IOM definition, traffic implicitly assumes either forced migration or forced work, the CATOC definition assume an opposite understanding. Article 3 ( b) dots the i's and cross the t's:


The consent of a victim of trafficking in persons to the intended exploitation set forth in subparagraph (a) of this article shall be irrelevant where any of the means set forth in subparagraph (a) have been used.


Accordingly, the sex-trade, should not be associated only with coercion into prostitution and sex-exploitation of migrant women "against their will".


The discussions concerning attitude to voluntary prostitution have begun just after adopting the UN Convention for Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (1949), which recognized that prostitution always assumes exploitation of women. Accordingly, all women, engaged in sex-work, were considered as victims of exploitation. There is not distinction between forced and voluntary prostitution done in the Convention.


With our point of view, it is necessary to make a difference between criminal/judicial understanding and definition of traffic in people and social aspect of the issue. Examining female migration in risky spheres of employment as a social problem (not with the view of criminal punishment, but with the view of possible measures of social policy), it is impossible to found on a principle of "constraint" and to be limited only by consideration of the cases of violence. Anyway in many cases sex-work is kind of "forced willingness" - choice in conditions, when there is no other choice under mass poverty, unemployment and frustration. So it can be treated as normal voluntary labor only relatively.


Application of a "principle of constraint" to the international definitions of trafficking as a problem-building point actually get trafficking out from social context and convert it into criminal issue. Besides, it narrows number of migrant women requiring the special programs of human rights protection, limiting it by those migrants, who were involved in prostitution by force. At the same time because of weakness of a legal basis and expansion of shadow relations in the sex-industry and in migration, women voluntary working in this sphere no less need special protection, than those who was coerced into prostitution by force.


There are some other reasons not to limit a problem only by the cases of violent treatment. First, the traffickers receive the same profits selling "voluntary" sex-workers and those who was forced to work. Secondly, by our estimation, number of so-called "volunteers" is much higher, than victims of the open violence concerning either sex work or migration in general. Third, the human rights violation of voluntary migrants may be not so severe, but they are considerably more mass.


The complexity of the analysis of traffic in women is in its connotation to such universal social problems, as illegal migration and prostitution. The decisions of these problems as one know are not found yet within world liberal tradition.



5. Migration and prostitution


Prostitution is integrally connected with migration. As this profession is considered "scandalous" and has rather short "life", women prefer to be engaged in this business far from their houses. Upon finishing this work they wish, as a rule, to return home and to start "normal" life. The best destination for migration with the purpose of sex-employment is the big city, megalopolis, where sex-market is wider and it is easier to keep anonymity. This forms the directions of migration flows in the countries of exit: from the periphery to metropolitan cities, and therefrom - abroad.


There is also one more migration related moment inherent to organization of prostitution. This occupation is connected with regular change of a place of work. It is known, that the owners of clubs and brothels having a constant circle of clients, regularly change "girls" (or even exchange between themselves), so that the clients are not bored with them. The permanent moving does not stimulate legalization of the status of migrants.


More and more restrictive immigration policy of the receiving countries results in reduction of legal migration opportunities and correspondingly increases illegal migration. For women having intention to work abroad, sex-market or near-sex services become most accessible avenues. Being more often semi-legal (shadow) or illegal, this sector of employment does not require from migrants legalization of their status and, thus, stimulates illegal migration.


There is still open question: how the legalization of prostitution in the host country may affect migration? It, probably, will slightly expand "official" segment of migration, as the official labor relations require legal status. However we should not overestimate these benefits, as the host countries hardly will agree on complete legalization of guest-prostitutes, taking into account anti-immigration feelings that are quite strong in all receiving countries. As Netherlands' experience shows, the legalization protects only national sex - business. Migrants, engaged in sex-sector, as a rule, still remain "out of the law". The legalization of prostitution, as such, probably, will not improve the conditions of migrants, neither those who voluntary work in sex-business, nor those who are forced to do this.


There are some basic channels for sex-trade and international transfer of other female labor in spheres of risk. First of them is - labor migration itself, that is export of work from the poor countries to economically advanced ones. There are some facts showing that host countries are interested in migrant inflow to service industry. There were several efforts to provide more legal ways for such migration. In early 80s Japanese embassy in Philippines has introduced so-called "visa for entertainment workers" (or “visa for dancers”), that actually has given legitimate basis for sex-migration. Today such visas are granted also to Russians going to Japan for work in entertainment services. The same type of visa exists in Switzerland. In other countries tourist or guest visas are commonly used to provide sex-migrants with legal opportunity to enter the country.


Other channel - mixed marriages through the system of "mail ordered brides". In many cases the bride is selected for concrete economic functions, for example, to work at a farm or to care about children, old parents, or sick relatives of "spouse". The false marriage is also one of the channels for recruiting women for illegal work in sex-industry. In a number of countries the special "visa of bride" exists that is used by traffickers to provide legitimate basis for their business.


The third channel - tourism, including such its version as rapidly developing sex-tourism, which represents today the global, well organized, highly profitable industry. It is one the most cynical displays of sex-exploitation of women from less developed countries.


But still in spite of all complications the social problems connected with female labor migration, should not be perceived as an "absolute evil" and should not eliminate positive sense of migration in general. Broadening a specter of social opportunities, migration really helps women to achieve success. Marginalization of migrant women is a social construction, reflecting the general gender asymmetry in social life (low social status of women, subordinate position in the family, shift to the low-paid sectors of employment).



6. Sending and receiving countries: resistance or cooperation


During the last decades the immigration policy of the main receiving countries has been continuously restricting. The reasons of this are clear - countries tried to protect their national labor markets from inflow of "undesirable" migrants.One of the consequences of such policy is the huge waves of illegal migration, which has overwhelmed the most of receiving countries.


The permanent shortage of the national workers in not prestigious mass professions is the chronic symptom of the postindustrial countries, as well as increased demand for highly qualified intellectual labor. Migrants used to be attracted mainly in these two sectors of the labor market.


Anybody in the West can hardly doubt about the contribution of migrants, both skilled professionals and workers of mass professions, to the national economy. However immigration policy is absolutely different in relation to these two groups. In relation to low-qualified migrants of mass occupations The policy is much more rigid. The migrant women are concentrated in the lower sectors of the labor market, and consequently experience all restrictions  and discriminative practices of immigration policy. The discriminative character of this policy, covered often by liberal "clothes", result in pushing migrants (especially women) out of the sphere of legal regulations into informal, illegal, and frequently criminal relations. Those "undesirable" labor migrants, which were dropped out through visa policy and other regulations, turned to illegal channels, where they found opportunities offered by criminal structures. They still penetrate through borders (illegally, or as the tourists, or with the guest visa), but find themselves already in illegal situation. Women's migration is especial criminalized because of close connection with sex- and entertainment industry, which widely use illegal channels to deliver workers.


The receiving countries on their part will hardly perform steps to make immigration policy more flexible particularly concerning labor migration. The initiative of the sending countries is necessary. And this initiative should be very strongly determined, focused on particular groups of migrants and particular conditions of migration (for example, short-term work), undertaken on high enough level. Active negotiation process should be initiated between sending and receiving countries aimed at enlarging legitimate "space" of labor migration.



7. Fighting against sex-trade: roles of different "actors"


The issue of traffic in women has received a wide public resonance, and it was reflected in the activity of national governments, international organizations and NGOs. Elimination of trafficking in human beings and "slavery of the XXIst century" is included in the programs of actions of many international organizations. The following basic directions of work are to be allocated:


·               revealing and struggle with criminal groups and traffickers organizing the international sex-trade;

·               carrying out wide awareness raising campaigns for women intended to migrate and other "groups of risk";

·               rehabilitation programs providing victims of sex-trade with help and support (irrelevantly either they get in sex-sphere voluntary, or against their will).


The first direction is carried out basically by national law-enforcement bodies and the Interpol. Second and third – by international organizations and NGOs.


The basic international organizations concerning migration (IOM, ILO, UNHCHR, Amnesty International, and others) have responded to a new wave of sex-migration from the CEE countries: they organize international initiatives and support national programs against traffic and associated human rights violations.


However, if we present the international migration as an opposition of two "counterparts": country of origin and host country, one of which is a source migration pressure, and another one have to keep it back, - it becomes clear, that the international organizations basically "play at the side of the receiving countries.


Three allocated directions of fighting against traffic practically do not concern the sphere of migration policy as a particular goal. Some measures of direct concern to immigration policy are proposed (for example it is offered to allocate victims of sex-trade from the group of illegal migrants and not to apply to them the measures, which are usually applied to irregular migrants, if they agree to testify against traffickers). But this do not aimed at shifting existing international migration regime into more effective relations on migration scene. Moreover a question of further strengthen of immigration restrictions, including visa regulations (particularly in case of young women), are discussed.


Having substantial instrumental potential of power in the world, which could be used for influence upon migration policy of states, international organizations have focused and practically limited their activity by awareness raising campaigns and providing support for NGOs working with victims of trafficking. Though they carry out information campaigns in that number for national governments, those programs and recommendations that the international organizations develop today to address national governments, NGO and mass-media, as a rule, lay outside of the area of real migration policy.


Certainly, the information campaign, explaining mechanisms and essence of the international traffic in people, is necessary, as well as scientific researches is. But they should also be focused on the development of new approaches to challenge existing international migration regime. Only the international organizations of high status, firstly those working under the UN's aegis, can carry out such purpose-oriented actions. Without it the measures against traffic in people and exploitation of migrant labor will be a fiction, whatever the international community do or whatever funds would be paid for this.


The authority of international organizations, their potential of influence in the world can and should be used to turn existing migration regime into influence migration relation of countries, with the purpose to make them more efficient, less discriminative, to enlarge legitimate migration space and accordingly, to narrow the sphere of illegality and crime.


Change of international migration policy is enormously complicated task, especially on a global scale and it requires a lot of time and efforts, but modern crisis of migratory regulations show that it is time to change a perspective of thinking and acting on migration issues.


ã2001, Elena Tiuriukanova.

[1] Trafficking in migrants: policy and responses. IOM, 1999

[2] A supplement to the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, due to be approved by the UN General Assembly in the year 2000.

[3] Source: Trafficking and Prostitution: The Groving Exploitation of Migrant Women from Central and Eastern Europe. Migration Information Programme. IOM. May 1995