Autonomy and protection of vulnerable populations.

Autonomy and protection of vulnerable populations : the case of Nigerian women involved in prostitution in France
GIP - Mission Droit et justice
24 months - October 2009 - October 2011

The offenses of human trafficking and illegal immigrant smuggling are part of the overall exploitation of people's determination to migrate. This research defines trafficking as an action (recruitment, providing accommodation, etc.), means (constraint, violence, abuse of vulnerability, etc.), and objective (exploitation of human beings). This research will deal exclusively with sexual exploitation. Protecting the victims of human trafficking deserves to be the subject of specific research, as it involves particularly serious violations of fundamental social rights: malicious injury (violence, repeated rape, forced prostitution, etc.), mental abuse (threats), and working conditions that violate human dignity, working without remuneration, violation of the victims' freedom to come and go, etc.
Despite the existence of international and national legal provisions, very few victims are identified and benefit from adequate protection. The causes of difficulties in this area will, therefore, be analysed from the perspective of the relationship between autonomy and vulnerability. Victims must request protection before it can be provided. However, this type of trafficking curtails freedom and prevents victims from identifying themselves as such. This work will deal particularly with Nigerian women, originally from Benin City, who work in prostitution in France. Voodoo practices are certainly used in this region to make the young women promise that they will never say they have been obliged to repay a debt. This is, apparently, an aggravating factor in the vulnerability of these people. This study aims to verify this point.