Irregular Migration
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Irregular Migration Ethical-philosophical comments. ESF Project Trafficking for forced labour in industries other than the sex industry across Europe 3 rd Workshop, Trinity College Dublin 21-22 February 2008. An Verlinden CEVI, Ghent University. Irregular migration – some numbers.

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Irregular Migration

Ethical-philosophical comments

ESF Project Trafficking for forced labour in industries other than the sex industry across Europe

3rd Workshop, Trinity College Dublin

21-22 February 2008

An Verlinden

CEVI, Ghent University


Irregular migration some numbers
Irregular migration – some numbers

  • Total numbers of (estimated) irregular migrants:

    • 15 - 30 million worldwide (IOM 2000)

    • 5 - 8 million in the EU (Düvell 2006)

      (10 to 15% of the total migrant population)

    • 50 000 - 100 000 in Belgium (Vulsteke 2005)

  • Inflow each year:

    • 2 – 4,5 million worldwide (ICMPD 2004)

    • 500 000 to 1 million in the EU (IOM 2003, Eu. Comm. 2006)


  • Trafficking some facts
    Trafficking – some facts

    • Total numbers of trafficked people

      • At least 2.4 million worldwide (ILO 2008)

  • Profile

    • mainly women & children (1.2 million)

  • Profits

    • +/- US$ 31.6 billion each year (Belser 2005)

  • Convictions

    • a few thousands every year

      Low risks - high returns


  • Trafficking irregular migration
    Trafficking & Irregular Migration

    • Economic crisis, underdevelopment, poverty, persecution, human rights violations, … in countries of origin

    • Migration Control Regime in Western Europe

    • Labour market competition, deregulation of labour standards, structural adjustments, 4D-Jobs

       Rise in irregular migration, THB & forced labour


    Current policies
    Current Policies

    • Focus onsecurity & border controls

    • Where are the victims?

      • The labourdimensions of trafficking(ILO 2007):

        • 12.3 millionforcedlabourvictimsworldwide

        • 2.4 million of them are trafficked

        • 32% of all victimsweretraffickedintolabourexploitation

        • 34% weretraffickedforsexualexploitation (mainlywomen & girls)

        • 25% for a mixture of both

      • The humanrightsdimension


    Normative dilemmas
    Normative dilemmas

    1. Sovereignty versus human rights

    Are foreigners fellow men?

    2. Practice versus law

    How to treat irregular migrants (victims of THB)?


    Sovereignty versus human rights
    Sovereignty versus human rights

    • Westphalian system of nation-states

      • Sovereignty – monopoly of violence – self-determination

         Control on admission through immigration policy

    • International human rights framework

      • UDHR (1948), ECHR (1950), Geneva Convention (1951), ICCPR (1966), ICESCR (1966), etc.

      • Protection of fundamental rights of international migrants

      • International obligations to irregular migrants/victims of THB


    Sovereignty versus human rights1
    Sovereignty versus human rights

    • Erosion state sovereignty?

      • Decreased influence of nation-states because of globalisation

      • EU policy: national interests prevail

    • Balancing human rights – social ‘achievements’

       soft law  public order

       knowledge of rights  labour market

       access to legal assistance  social security


    Sovereignty versus human rights2
    Sovereignty versus human rights

    • State sovereignty & human rights

      • The Security dilemma

        State security or human security?

      • The Solidarity dilemma

        Humanitarianism or justice?


    Sovereignty versus human rights3
    Sovereignty versus human rights

    • The Security dilemma

    • Security as state security

       Emphasis on possible disruptive consequences of illegal

      immigration/THB

       securitisation discourse

    • Security as human security

       Emphasis on physical integrity & personal freedom

       human migration policy taking into account migrants’ needs


    Sovereignty versus human rights4
    Sovereignty versus human rights

    2. The Solidarity dilemma

    • Solidarity with irregular migrants out of humanitarianism

       National community is normative foundation for societal

      participation & solidarity

       Duty of humanitarian assistance towards irregular migrants

    • Solidarity with irregular migrants out of global justice

       Territorial boundaries are morally arbitrary

       Duty of justice towards irregular migrants/victims of THB


    Practice versus law
    Practice versus law

    • Law

      legal framework – macro-level (state)

       citizens versus non-citizens

    • Practice

      application/interpretation of the law – social practices within civil society contexts

       the foreigner as fellow man


    Practice versus law1
    Practice versus law

    • Legal framework & moral convictions

      • Effectiveness of policy and fieldwork

        Feasibility versus humaneness

      • Professional and moral duties

        The extent of duties towards irregular migrants/victims of THB


    Practice versus law2
    Practice versus law

    • Different functionalities

    • Policy framework

      abstract legal framework – illegality as crime – procedures – common good – feasibility

       efficient & effective expulsionpolicy towards irregular migrants in view of legitimacy

    • Socialpractice

      application of the law – problem-solving oriented – human contact – individual well-being – humaneness & desirability

       real assistance out of humanitarianism


    Practice versus law3
    Practice versus law

    2. Professional and moral duties

    • Professional duties

       application of the law in one’s official capacity

       rationality – rules

    • Moral duties

       out of concrete encounter with the other – moral appeal

       conscience – duties


    The immigration paradox
    The immigration paradox

    What is a crime from a strictly legal point of view

    can be aid or assistance from a social ethics

    point of view.

    And what can be justified in terms of a social or public ethics, can be fully immoral from an individual point of view.


    Some recommendations
    Some recommendations

    • Holistic approach

    • Minister/state secretary of Migration

    • Interdepartmentality

    • Multi-level governance

    • Structural involvement & participation of migrant communities


    Some recommendations1
    Some recommendations

    • Ethical commission & deontological charters

    • Ethical commission on Immigration

      • Independent

      • Permanent

      • Differentiated composition

      • Tasks:

        • Systematic screening of alien law (juridical + ethical)

        • Mediation in sensitive cases (linked to accountability)

  • Deontological charters for social workers


  • Discussion
    Discussion

    The immigration paradox in practice

    • How to shape our individual practices – as social worker, policy maker, academic, lobbyist, … – looked at it from the perspective of our collective responsibility towards irregular migrants/victims of THB?

    • Expulsion policy: tailpiece or collapse of an efficient and effective migration policy?


    More information

    An Verlinden

    Center for Ethics and Value Inquiry (CEVI)

    Dept. of Philosophy & Moral Science, Ghent University

    +32 (0)9 264 39 75

    [email protected]

    www.cevi-globalethics.be – www.igea.ugent.be

    More Information


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