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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 article documents the experiences and working conditions of women who travel periodically from their countries to Istanbul to undertake sex work, and discusses the policy debates failure to address the poor living conditions of migrant sex workers by addressing abusive and restrictive immigration policies, and by decriminalising undocumented sex work.

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