Trafficking victims in Europe forced into life of crime

Mon Sep 29, 2014 7:10pm EDT
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By Katie Nguyen

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Linh, a 14-year-old Vietnamese girl, is found in a cannabis farm during a police raid in the Netherlands.

Hundreds of miles (kms) away in Britain Maria, a 13-year-old Roma girl, works 12 hours a day begging and stealing.

What do they have in common?

Both are among a growing number of adults and children being trafficked to commit crimes across Europe, including cannabis cultivation, drug smuggling, fraud and sham marriages, Anti-Slavery International said in a report released on Tuesday.

Traffickers are also forcing victims to deal drugs, produce counterfeit DVDs and cigarettes, pickpocket, take part in illegal adoption and even cook crystal meth, the report said.

Based on two years of research, it found that Vietnamese, Chinese and people from southeastern Europe, many of Roma origin, were most often the victims of trafficking for forced criminality.

"Trafficking for forced criminality is probably larger than anyone has anticipated," Klara Skrivankova, Anti-Slavery's advocacy coordinator, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"We're not talking about isolated cases. The numbers in the report are the tip of the iceberg," she said in an interview.   Continued...