In order to address such an issue, we need to have the main terms related to the topic clarified: 

  • Refugee: According to the Geneva Convention of 1951 relating to the status of Refugees, a refugee is a person who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside of the country of his nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.” 
  • Trafficking: Human trafficking is the trade of humans for the purpose of forced labor, sexual slavery, or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others. … Human trafficking is the trade in people, especially women and children, and does not necessarily involve the movement of the person from one place to another.
  • International Refugee Law: Of the same nature as international humanitarian law, international refugee law fixes the fundamental norms regarding the legal protection of refugee rights as well as those of the law of asylum.

Elaborating on the notion of human trafficking

Human trafficking can be described as the act of moving an individual to a different place where any of the above-mentioned forms of slavery are practiced upon it. In spite of most attention being drawn to trafficking for sexual exploitation, most of the trafficking actually results in labor exploitation. And as in almost every other form of slavery, the victim is brought into a situation of exploitation through violence, abuse, or threats. Trafficking is often confused with smuggling. In human trafficking the people do not have to necessarily cross a border, it can also happen on a national or even a communal level. The difference is that most people smuggled, pay their smugglers to be moved to a different country.

The act of smuggling is majorly used by immigrants to illegally cross a country’s border in order to get into a more developed country in the hope of a better job, a higher income, or a safer and happier life. Upon arrival, the smuggled people are free. In trafficking, the people are as well seeking a better life, a way to escape poverty and discrimination, and send money to their families. The traffickers offer them a well‐paying job abroad or in another region but as soon as they arrive, they realize that what they were promised doesn’t exist. They are then straightaway forced to work under conditions that were not agreed with the trafficker.

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