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Combating the Inevitable? Europe's Need for Better Policies and Strategies to Prevent the Ever Increasing Numbers in Human Trafficking

Michaela Koch

In the last two decades Europe has witnessed and experienced immense changes on the political, social and economic level. The end of the Cold War in 1989, the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the formal establishment of the European Union (EU) in 1993 have played an integral role in these changes. Central and Eastern European (CEE) states have widely undergone a political shift from Communism to liberal democracy, as well as a restructuring from planned to market economies. Additionally, ten of these countries have been acceded to the European Union since 2004. Yet, the post-1989 era has certainly not been one of development and success for everyone in Europe. While the borders in Central and Eastern Europe became more permeable, the region was greatly affected by staggering economies and high unemployment rates, which have simultaneously facilitated the rise in human trafficking in general and of women and children for prostitution in particular.The purpose of this study is to outline some of the measures taken by member states of the European Union to counter-act the current influx of irregular migrants and to combat the growing numbers in trafficking cases. Yet, the implemented laws and initiatives often increase the vulnerability of irregular migrants in general and trafficked persons in particular. In order to support this argument a closer look at European migration policies with specific reference to border security, the laws on prostitution, the prosecution of traffickers and assistance given to victims of trafficking, will be provided.

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