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Exploitative sham marriage

From EverybodyWiki Bios & Wiki

Exploitative sham marriage refers to a phenomenon where an a person becomes exploited or even a victim of human trafficking in the context of sham marriage arrangements. The concept of exploitative sham marriages was developed as part of EU project in order to describe a newly identified phenomenon of exploitation and human trafficking in connection to sham marriages i.e. marriages of convenience..[1]

Terms and Concepts[edit]

Genuine Marriage[edit]

What distinguishes a sham marriage from a genuine marriage is intention. A genuine marriage is characterised by the intention of the married couple to create together a durable family unit and to lead an authentic marital life, whereas a sham marriage is concluded for the purpose of obtaining the right of free movement and residence under EU law on a non-EU national who would otherwise not be able to benefit from such a right. Marriage of convenience is often used as a synonym for “sham marriage”. The EC suggests that the terms fake, false, bogus and fictitious marriages should refer to marriages contracted by using fraudulent documentation, for instance forged marriage certificates. Marriages of convenience, sham marriages, forced marriages and marriages by deception are marriages concluded with legally valid documents but in these types of marriages the motives for concluding the union differ.[2] Thus, the purpose of the marriage is to legalise the stay of a third-country national in the European Union.

Exploitative Sham Marriage[edit]

The term exploitative sham marriage refers to sham marriages that include elements of exploitation. The term covers both cases that include elements of exploitation but are not actual trafficking, and also cases that can be defined as trafficking (i.e. “trafficking for (the purpose of) sham marriages”). In practice, it is not easy to draw a line between different forms of exploitation. The term should be understood as sociological concept rather than a legal category or concept defined in law.[1]

Trafficking in Persons[edit]

The United Nations Trafficking Protocol[3] is considered as the first overarching and as the leading definition of trafficking in human beings. Its purpose is to prevent and combat trafficking in persons, to protect and assist the victims of such trafficking, and to promote cooperation among States Parties in order to meet those objectives (Art 2.) According to the Protocol: “Trafficking in persons shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs”.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Viuhko, Minna; Lietonen, Anni; Jokinen, Anniina; eds. Joutsen, Matti (2016). Exploitative Sham Marriages: Exploring the Links Between Human Trafficking and Sham Marriages in Estonia, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia (PDF). Helsinki: Heuni Publication Series. ISBN 978-952-5333-96-1. Retrieved 15 May 2018.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) Search this book on
  2. European, Commission. "European Commission staff working document: Handbook on addressing the issue of alleged marriages of convenience between EU Citizens and non EU nationals in the context of EU law on free movement of EU citizens". European Commission. Retrieved 15 May 2018. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  3. United Nations. "12. a Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime". Treaty Collection. United Nations. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  4. "What is Human Trafficking?". UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

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