Trafficking victims forced to cultivate cannabis, make false benefit claims, marry non-EU citizens for residency purposes
LONDON, Sept 30 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A growing number of people across Europe are being trafficked and forced to commit crimes, including cannabis cultivation, drug smuggling, fraud and sham marriages, a report said on Tuesday.
The study by Anti-Slavery International and other rights groups was based on interviews with police officers, lawyers, officials and campaigners, freedom of information requests and media reports.
It depicts the many ways trafficked people are being exploited by their traffickers.
What crimes are victims being forced to commit?
- Drug Cultivation - Victims are forced to cultivate illegal drugs. In Europe this is often cannabis.
- Drug Smuggling - Victims are forced to smuggle illegal drugs, often across borders and on their person.
- Drug Dealing - Victims are forced to sell illegal drugs.
- Petty Crime and Theft - Victims are forced to steal and commit petty crime, including but not limited to; ATM theft and fraud, metal theft, shoplifting, car theft and burglaries.
- Benefit Fraud - This is where fraudulent benefit claims are made in a victim's name, the trafficker or other person receives the benefits. This is commonly done in conjunction with other types of exploitation.
- Pickpocketing - Victims are forced to pickpocket on the streets of major European cities.
- Sham Marriage - In these cases, a victim, usually female, is coerced, sometimes kidnapped and transported against her will, and forced to marry someone from a non-EU country for the purposes of obtaining EU residence.
- Forced Begging - Begging is not illegal in all European countries, but forcing someone to beg for the profit of a third party is.
- Metal Theft - Victims are forced to scavenge and steal metal which is then sold by the traffickers for profit.
(Reporting by Katie Nguyen; Editing by Tim Pearce)
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