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Human Smuggling–Implications on Rights of Migrants: An Examination from the Standpoint of International Law

Author:

Y. Kathirgamathamby

The Open University of Sri Lanka, LK
About Y.
Department of Legal Studies
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Abstract

Human smuggling is a transnationally planned, coordinated and executed crime that is more often perpetrated by organized criminal networks. It is not merely the smugglers who are in search of the lucrative business but also the smuggled migrants, who give the green light, collaborate and connive in the crime. The impulse to seek new economic opportunities and look for greener pastures, yearning for individual or familial betterment and in certain circumstances, making a getaway from conflict and persecution become the motivating factors for migrants to take the desperate step of consenting to be smuggled out of the country.  The modus operandi is by Air, Sea and land where the lives of the smuggled migrants are put at risk during the journey.

Lives of the smuggled migrants are put at risk whatever may be the means of transport during the journey. Lacking legal status, migrants are vulnerable to human rights violations, especially of labour rights. They are subject to rigorous controls and even to sexual exploitation. Although migrants may act in collusion with the smugglers, it is increasingly recognized that they are victims of circumstances and stand in dire need of being protected by society.

This article seeks to inquire into and examine the rights of smuggled migrants as are recognized in the context of the provisions in international law. Special attention is given to United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime 2000 (UNCTOC) and the Protocol Against the smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Land Supplementing the United National Convention against Transnational Organized Crimes 2000 (Protocol). Besides a careful perusal of these documents, the article also appraises the provisions available under the other International Human Rights Instruments and Conventions relating to status of refugees 1951.

The first part of the article discusses the right to movement and international laws governing human smuggling. The second part identifies and explains the differences between human trafficking and human smuggling. The third part sheds light on the rights of smuggled migrants available under international law. This part focuses on UNCTOC protocol, CSR and other international human rights instruments (IHR Instruments).  The last part of this article is a summary with the inclusion of some suggestions

How to Cite: Kathirgamathamby, Y., (2016). Human Smuggling–Implications on Rights of Migrants: An Examination from the Standpoint of International Law. OUSL Journal. 10, pp.93–114. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/ouslj.v10i0.7337
Published on 25 Oct 2016.
Peer Reviewed

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