Academic journal article Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies

The Partnership between the State and the Church against Trafficking in Persons

Academic journal article Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies

The Partnership between the State and the Church against Trafficking in Persons

Article excerpt

Trafficking in persons is a multi-sided phenomenon accompanying the current migration flows, therefore, the actions that must be undertaken in order to prevent, combat the phenomenon as well as to assist the victims of trafficking require a large partnership between all the actors involved: international organisations, governmental institutions and representatives of civil society. The special psychological, ethical issues raised especially by trafficking prevention and assistance to victims make the church and various religious organisations play a very important role in the corresponding networks at both international and national level. Even if the integration of the church in the networks fighting against trafficking in persons has been quite largely addressed worldwide, there are but few studies undertaken in Romania in this area. Our paper opens the room for dialogue among the researchers interested in this topic from an interdisciplinary perspective to discuss the possibilities to establish sustainable partnerships between the state and the church against trafficking in persons. With this aim in view, we have first carried out a quantitative analysis of the scope and dynamics of trafficking in persons in Romania focusing on the victims' profile by exploitation type. The main socio-demographic characteristics (gender, age, schooling, area of origin) have been considered in order to identify the vulnerability factors related to the risk involved by trafficking, both at national and regional level. We have also examined the responses in legislative and institutional terms, with a special emphasis on the collaboration between the state and the church in preventing and combating trafficking in persons. Of special relevance are the conclusions resulted from the field research undertaken in the area covered by the Diocese of Maramures and Satu Mare.

Key Words:

trafficking in persons, exploitation, gender differentiation, governmental policy, civil society, church, partnership, prevention, combating, assistance to victims


In the current globalisation context, the financial and commercial information flows are accompanied by a growing number of people who cross national borders, which makes migration represent a major feature of contemporary society. In fact, as acknowledged by the 2003 Report of the International Organisation for Migration, "none of the countries of the world is excluded from the international migration flows"1. They are either countries of origin, transit or destination for migrants, or they present these three characteristics simultaneously. The last decades have shown important changes in migration mechanisms as well as the emergence of new forms of migration2. Among them, trafficking in persons is considered a side-effect of migration, and a serious concern for many countries and international organisations.

According to Article 3 of the 'Palermo Protocol'3, trafficking in persons (TP)4 refers to "the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat 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 minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs".

TP runs through several stages, starting with recruitment and continuing with transport, sale, sequestration and exploitation, resale, escape and repatriation. Various sociological studies5 have identified a series of risk factors that can be grouped into three categories, namely:

(i) macro-social factors (drastic decrease of the standard of living, high unemployment rates, lack of relevant educational programmes, a sociocultural environment characterised by intolerance and discrimination based on gender and ethnicity favourable to domestic violence, development of international migration for work, disasters, natural catastrophes);

(ii) micro-social factors (household poverty, lack of access to jobs, to social assistance programmes, low level of education, lack of professional training, family dismemberment, deficient relationships between adults and children, disordered behaviours such as alcoholism, domestic violence, criminal history);

(iii) individual factors (e. …

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