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Trafficked Women as Refugees. Sexually exploited women as 'members of a particular social group' under International Refugee Law.

Trimiño, Diana (2008)
Department of Law
Abstract
This study aims to revise the possibility of interpreting the 1951 Refugee Convention to include female trafficked victims who might suffer from persecution if deported back to their home countries, in the definition if the Convention as members of a 'particular social group'. Trafficking in women for the purpose of sexual exploitation is one of the most profitable 'markets' in the globalised world. The feminisation of poverty and migration, the globalisation of markets, economies and the internet, as well as social and cultural practices and values that view women as goods that can be sold and bought without any legal consequence contribute to the increase of this international crime. Some women are lured with promises of a well-paid job... (More)
This study aims to revise the possibility of interpreting the 1951 Refugee Convention to include female trafficked victims who might suffer from persecution if deported back to their home countries, in the definition if the Convention as members of a 'particular social group'. Trafficking in women for the purpose of sexual exploitation is one of the most profitable 'markets' in the globalised world. The feminisation of poverty and migration, the globalisation of markets, economies and the internet, as well as social and cultural practices and values that view women as goods that can be sold and bought without any legal consequence contribute to the increase of this international crime. Some women are lured with promises of a well-paid job abroad, a better life and/or more economic possibilities to partially solve some of their obligations, while others accept to work as prostitutes in another country. Most of them travel willingly because of the situation they face in their countries of origin. However, once they get to their destination country, they find out they were deceived and face a cruel and inhumane reality. These women are forced to work as prostitutes without any or hardly any payment at all. Most of them are deprived of their legal documents and are forced to serve up to 50 clients a day, besides being subjected to all sorts of human rights violations. Regardless of this reality, female trafficking victims are basically unprotected both in International Law as well as in different national legislations. Once they manage to escape or are arrested by the police in their destination country, the majority of these women are deported back to their sending country, were they may be victims of gender persecution. This persecution can take various forms: they can be retrafficked or suffer all sorts of retaliation measures from their traffickers, and/or they can also be ostracised, discriminated against and be subjected to gender violence due to their work as prostitutes and its conflict with the gender roles imposed to women of the society they belong to. Western European countries are still the most attractive market for traffickers of women. Some of these countries have implemented measures of 'victim protection' that involve giving trafficking victims a temporary residence permit, if they agree to cooperate with the criminal proceedings against their traffickers. These measures have been criticised, since they only serve a purpose for the prosecution of the traffickers and do not really aim to protect and assist the victims of trafficking. Scholars, United Nations bodies and various national courts have interpreted the fourth ground of the definition. An amalgamation of the main two interpretations given to this ground is contained in the United nations High Commissioner for Refugees 'social group' guidelines. According to this definition, a social group is a group of persons who share a common characteristic are who are perceived as a group by society. The characteristic can be innate or unchangeable, or fundamental to the persons identity, conscience or exercise of the person's human rights. This work analyses women as a particular social group in jurisprudence and doctrine and studies the cases in which female victims of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation have been considered a particular social group. The attribution of refugee status to these women has either occurred because of them belonging to a certain society (namely an innate characteristic) or having worked in prostitution (constituting an unchangeable characteristic), which makes society perceive them as a distinct group. (Less)
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author
Trimiño, Diana
supervisor
organization
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
International Human Rights Law
language
English
id
1555258
date added to LUP
2010-03-08 15:23:10
date last changed
2010-03-08 15:23:10
@misc{1555258,
  abstract     = {This study aims to revise the possibility of interpreting the 1951 Refugee Convention to include female trafficked victims who might suffer from persecution if deported back to their home countries, in the definition if the Convention as members of a 'particular social group'. Trafficking in women for the purpose of sexual exploitation is one of the most profitable 'markets' in the globalised world. The feminisation of poverty and migration, the globalisation of markets, economies and the internet, as well as social and cultural practices and values that view women as goods that can be sold and bought without any legal consequence contribute to the increase of this international crime. Some women are lured with promises of a well-paid job abroad, a better life and/or more economic possibilities to partially solve some of their obligations, while others accept to work as prostitutes in another country. Most of them travel willingly because of the situation they face in their countries of origin. However, once they get to their destination country, they find out they were deceived and face a cruel and inhumane reality. These women are forced to work as prostitutes without any or hardly any payment at all. Most of them are deprived of their legal documents and are forced to serve up to 50 clients a day, besides being subjected to all sorts of human rights violations. Regardless of this reality, female trafficking victims are basically unprotected both in International Law as well as in different national legislations. Once they manage to escape or are arrested by the police in their destination country, the majority of these women are deported back to their sending country, were they may be victims of gender persecution. This persecution can take various forms: they can be retrafficked or suffer all sorts of retaliation measures from their traffickers, and/or they can also be ostracised, discriminated against and be subjected to gender violence due to their work as prostitutes and its conflict with the gender roles imposed to women of the society they belong to. Western European countries are still the most attractive market for traffickers of women. Some of these countries have implemented measures of 'victim protection' that involve giving trafficking victims a temporary residence permit, if they agree to cooperate with the criminal proceedings against their traffickers. These measures have been criticised, since they only serve a purpose for the prosecution of the traffickers and do not really aim to protect and assist the victims of trafficking. Scholars, United Nations bodies and various national courts have interpreted the fourth ground of the definition. An amalgamation of the main two interpretations given to this ground is contained in the United nations High Commissioner for Refugees 'social group' guidelines. According to this definition, a social group is a group of persons who share a common characteristic are who are perceived as a group by society. The characteristic can be innate or unchangeable, or fundamental to the persons identity, conscience or exercise of the person's human rights. This work analyses women as a particular social group in jurisprudence and doctrine and studies the cases in which female victims of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation have been considered a particular social group. The attribution of refugee status to these women has either occurred because of them belonging to a certain society (namely an innate characteristic) or having worked in prostitution (constituting an unchangeable characteristic), which makes society perceive them as a distinct group.},
  author       = {Trimiño, Diana},
  keyword      = {International Human Rights Law},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Trafficked Women as Refugees. Sexually exploited women as 'members of a particular social group' under International Refugee Law.},
  year         = {2008},
}