SANCTIONING CHILDREN IN CONFLICT WITH THE LAW FOR SMUGGLING MIGRANTS AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN NORTH MACEDONIA
Keywords:justice for children, human trafficking, smuggling, sentencing, migrants
In this article, the authors refer to the issue of children in conflict with the law for actions of human trafficking and smuggling of migrants. The authors make a distinction between smuggling of migrants and human trafficking concluding that they are fundamentally different, although, in practice, the distinction between the two crimes is not always easy to establish. Then, the international frameworks and North Macedonia’s legislative framework is subject of examination.
Although children are at most times victims of these crimes, there are cases when their role is on the perpetrators side. Four cases from the Macedonian judicial practice are analysed in this respect showing that children are involved (often by and with adults) into criminal activities of this type. One of the four cases relates to child trafficking and three relate to the smuggling of migrants.
The authors conclude that although the prosecution of traffickers is more successful, the identification of victims and assistance to them are still elements of the fight against trafficking to which not enough attention is paid in our country and beyond. When children appear as perpetrators of these crimes, the urgency is even more pronounced as they are usually children that faced risk before they took part in criminal activities. Macedonian courts tend to impose educational and alternative measures rather than classical punishments.