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Social justice activists internationally have hailed as progressive and humane the 1998 report The Sex Sector: The Economic and Social Bases of Prostitution in Southeast Asia. Edited by Lin Lean Lim of the International Labour Office in Geneva, the book recommends that the sex industry be included in official government accountings, first, because of its enormous contributions to regional economies, and second, as the only way to improve the situation of those employed as sex workers. With a recognised sex sector, governments would be required to extend labour rights and protections to people who work in it. At the same time, the report unequivocally demands the eradication of child prostitution as a serious human rights violation and an intolerable form of child labour.

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The European Union and its Member States generally acknowledge the positive value of international migration when it takes place in a regulated and predictable manner. They are alarmed, however, by irregular migratory movements. Indeed, in the face of the perceived threat posed by this phenomenon, States have introduced a series of measures to deter or prevent migrants from gaining unauthorised entry into their territories. The blanket enforcement of such measures makes it increasingly difficult for refugees and asylum-seekers to secure access to international protection. With this concern in mind, UNHCR must stress that the Action Plan contained in the Commission Communication on a Common Policy on Illegal Immigration and subsequently adopted by the Member States strike a proper balance between migration control priorities and refugee protection imperatives.

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This report is the result of a year’s work of the Experts Group on Trafficking in Human Beings. The main assignment of the Experts Group is to contribute to the translation of the Brussels Declaration into practice, in particular by submitting a report to the European Commission with concrete proposals on the implementation of the recommendations of the Brussels Declaration.

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