Major study into human trafficking
A lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University is to undertake a study into the public’s attitude towards the problem of human trafficking – and how consumers’ spending habits contribute towards it.
Acording to Dr Kiril Sharapov, there is a widespread misconception that human trafficking is only associated with the illegal sex trade, where people are forced into prostitution after being trafficked across borders.
He believes a growing demand for cheap goods and services, and lack of public awareness of trafficking, obscure our concern for the welfare of the migrant workers involved.
Such demand and lack of awareness fuel the exploitation of migrant workers, many of whom work in a wide variety of everyday situations, including care homes, hotels, and construction.
“Trafficking is not just the issue of badly controlled borders, or economic migrants or criminals,” said Dr Sharapov. “It should be looked at from the perspective of why people are smuggled and trafficked here – there is a demand for cheap and exploitable labour. The rising costs of energy and raw materials and the continuing economic downturn are having a direct impact on the price of consumer goods.”
“This creates downward pressure on wages and an increasing demand for cheap labour that can be easily intimidated, for example by physical violence, threats of deportation or to the security of family back home, and exploited.”
Dr Sharapov’s work will focus on the UK (where people are trafficked to), Ukraine (where people are trafficked from) and Hungary (where people are trafficked through).
He will be based at Central European University in Budapest for the duration of his two-year study, which it is hoped will lead to policy changes relating to human trafficking at national as well as international level.