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DOI: 10.47026/2499-9636-2021-1-52-59

Kuzmin Yu.A.

Migrants as Potential Victims of Crime: Victimological Aspect

Keywords: crime, criminality, victimization, migrants, human trafficking, smuggling

The problem of preventing crime against migrants is updated. The urgency of issues related to preventing crimes against migrants as the main factor of criminality prevention in general is substantiated. The relevance of the topic is caused by the fact that in modern conditions, the attitude to migrants in accordance with the norms of international law is equally ambivalent. Migrants are exposed to numerous risks of victimization, and many of them suffer from victimization – sometimes repeatedly, and sometimes even systematically. Such risks of victimization can be classified together with their individual background of emigration and immigration. The two main types of criminal behaviour that is of interest to criminal policy – human trafficking and human smuggling – are addressed in the two Amendment Protocols to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (Palermo Convention): the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children and the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air. In the latter document, migrants are perceived as offenders, not as victims, especially in legal treatment of smuggling. This is justified by the fact that migrants represent a demand for smuggling services, and this demand is considered the main incentive for this branch of organized crime, including transnational one. However, current legal situation – both the international legal framework and the legal provisions applied in the main jurisdictions – does not reflect the victimological reality of migration. The distinction between human trafficking and people smuggling (trafficking) creates a significant gap in the treatment of victims. The same is true of public, political and academic discussions that tend to ignore the reality of migration, which is characterized by the fact that not only victims of trafficking, but migrants in general, are clearly vulnerable and are at multiple risks of victimization. The problem of preventing crime against migrants is that it is hardly possible to justify a politically motivated dividing victims of criminal acts into two groups (trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants) in order to achieve two different standards of protection, especially in light of the enormous risks of victimization to which all migrants are exposed.


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About authors

Kuzmin Yury A.
Senior Lecturer of Criminal Law Department, Chuvash State University, Russia, Cheboksary (; ORCID:

Article link

Kuzmin Yu.A. Migrants as Potential Victims of Crime: Victimological Aspect [Electronic resource] // Oeconomia et Jus. – 2021. – №1. P. 52-59. – URL: DOI: 10.47026/2499-9636-2021-1-52-59.