Trafficking of migrant workers from Romania: Issues of labour and sexual exploitation

This paper, prepared by a team of Romanian researchers under the supervision of Dr. Catalin Ghinarau, and by Mariska N.J. van der Linden, argues that trafficking for labour exploitation is an emerging issue in the region and in particular in Romania.

The authors of this study pioneered a difficult field of research. Not only is trafficking research as such a sensitive issue because of its criminal and “hidden” nature, but the authors were also exploring a relatively new subject, namely trafficking for labour exploitation. In recent years, trafficking for sexual exploitation in the area of former Yugoslavia has raised the attention of the media and policy makers. Indeed, the political instability in the Western Balkans has been a major pull factor for trafficking of mainly women and minors into the growing sex industry of the region.
The results were first discussed during a tripartite workshop in Bucharest in April 2003. It became evident that abusive recruitment mechanisms play a major role in perpetuating vulnerabilities at later stages of the trafficking cycle. A training programme on the monitoring of private recruitment agencies was therefore developed and tested with a reference group in Romania in early 2004.2 Hence, the research has already led to concrete activities for the progressive elimination of trafficking in human beings and its forced labour outcomes.