Isn't it absurd, a paradox, that in the 21st Century we still need to talk about “the importance” of eradicating slavery? Apparently NOT. The Walk Free Foundation answered properly to my concerns. Their mission is "to end modern slavery by mobilising a global activist movement, generating the highest quality research, enlisting business and working with government to drive change in those countries and industries bearing the greatest responsibility for slavery today." Incredibly, to-date, slavery is still an actual topic. Thus, this Foundation elaborated for the first time the Global Slavery Index that estimates in 2014 there are still 38,5 million people (women, men, children) being enslaved. Quite a lot, don’t you think?
I would like to connect this topic with a sentence I read in a newspaper: “migrants pay more than drugs.” The sentence had been whispered by a member of an Italian criminal organisation, who was summarising the most profitable criminal markets in which he was involved to another member of the same clique. What was really meant?
A careful examination of the criminal activities perpetrated by organised crime in relatively recent times observes that the interest has shifted to a previously undiscovered field, rather than the classic smuggling or drug trafficking: the violation of fundamental rights. In particular, I refer to smuggling of migrants and trafficking of human beings. The reasoning behind this change in focus originates from a very simple paradigm: these crimes are more profitable and less risky, and consequently these actors are more interested in their perpetration. The internationalisation of criminal organisations created a sort of “international network,” a net in which criminals cooperate to find the best connections and canals in the management of illicit markets.
These two crimes must be seen as new forms of slavery. A mere analysis of this conduct at the material level makes clear that they possess those characteristics that the international community has outlined to create an internationally recognized notion of slavery: “the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised”. The international community has sought to categorise slavery as a human rights violations that constitute an offense against the international social conscience. The UN defined slavery as crime against humanity and a violation of international customary rules. According to the principle of international customary law consuetudo est servanda, a state that violates the obligation to repress this crime is considered responsible, even apart from its acceptance to binding international agreements of any kind. Due to the extreme gravity of this crime, the international community recognised that the principle of universal jurisdiction can be applied against criminals who perpetrate slavery. Therefore, each state is entitled to raise a well-founded punitive claim and be able to judge and punish perpetrators, independently of any juridical connection between the state and the criminal. So, universal jurisdiction can be applied to trafficking of human beings and smuggling of migrants as well.
Keeping in mind the two definitions and the connection of these conducts with transnational organised crime, one last consideration must be made. The economic interests around the theme of undocumented migrants, the (ab)use of an underpaid and exploited workforce, the implementation of informal employment through informal wage-workers hired without any contract (or any legal protection), money laundering, and slavery created a market that it is almost impossible to evaluate properly. At least around 2.5 million of persons are currently suffering from exploitation due to human trafficking, and around 55.000 persons every year are smuggled from East, North and West Africa into Europe, generating about $150 million in revenue for criminals. If the data representing (approximately) the number of people suffering from human trafficking or smuggling in Europe is impressive, the scale of the economic profits that would be laundered is simply unbelievable. The total illicit profits of all forced labour resulting from human trafficking is estimated to be about USD 32 billion per year (4 USD billion dollar for working exploitation, and 28 USD billion dollars from sexual exploitation), while the amount of money circulating around smuggling is estimated in around 6,75 USD billion per year, with an average of smuggling fees that vary between 1.500 USD and 70.000 USD for migrant.
What could be the next concrete step that the International Community should take to eradicate these forms of slavery? For the moment, this question is far from having an answer.
 “2009 European Union organised crime situation report”, Europol, Lussemburgo, 2010, p.11.
 Convention to Suppress the Slave Trade and Slavery, signed in Geneva in on 25 september 1926, entered into force on 12 march 1927.
U. N. Sub-commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection on Minorities on its 45th session, 1993.
 The doctrine of universal jurisdiction allows national courts to try cases of the gravest crimes against humanity, even if these crimes are not committed in the national territory and even if they are committed by government leaders of other states.
 International Labour Organization, A Global Alliance against Forced Labour: Global Report under the Follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (Geneva, ILO, 2005). Available from: www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@ed_norm/@declaration/documents/publication/wcms_081882.pdf.
 To consider the variability of these data we can say that for instance from the beginning of the 2014 already more than 5000 migrants reached Italian costs as migrants smuggled. This means that the number of 55.000 as Reported in 2011 can easily be increased. http://www.unodc.org/toc/en/crimes/migrant-smuggling.html
 “The Globalization of Crime: A Transnational Organized Crime Threat Assessment “, United Nations publication, Sales No. E.10.IV.6. Available from www.unodc.org/documents/data-and -analysis/tocta/TOCTA_Report_2010_low_res.pdf.