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Status: Published

Migration: human rights protection of smuggled persons (2010)



MigrationThis project examines the provisions that protect undocumented and smuggled migrants under international human rights law, and suggests how they might be integrated in migration policies, alongside economic and law enforcement considerations. It takes account of the 2000 Convention to Combat Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols on Trafficking and Smuggling, as well as the 1990 Convention to Protect the Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families. At a time when increasing numbers of people seek to leave their country for a wide variety of reasons, it is vital to assert the rights of those who are least protected. Trapped between smugglers who abuse them, employers who often exploit them and states which regard them as criminals (and a potential terrorist threat), smuggled people are among those most exposed to risk.

The project will therefore link three strands of thinking that have always influenced policy in this area: support for law enforcement and state control over sovereign frontiers; economic policies that seek benefits from controlled immigration of labour; and the obligation to protect vulnerable people from exploitation and abuse. It argues that, if they are to be sustainable and defensible, policies on undocumented migration (and human smuggling in particular) must integrate human rights protection alongside other policy concerns.

Research team



Consultation activities