Europe’s human trafficking shame: almost 16,000 people are victims of trafficking in the EU

In 2013-2014, 15,846 women, men, girls and boys were registered as victims of trafficking in the EU. This is the shameful data revealed by the first Report on progress in the fight against trafficking in human beings:

  • Trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation is still the most widespread form (67 % of registered victims), followed by labour exploitation (21 % of registered victims).
  • The other 12 % were registered as victims of trafficking for other forms of exploitation.
  • Over three quarters of the registered victims were women (76 %).
  • At least 15 % of the registered victims were children16 .
  • 65 % of registered victims were EU citizens.
  • The top five EU countries of citizenship for registered victims in 2013-2014 were Romania, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Hungary, and Poland. These are the same countries as for the years 2010-2012.
  • The top five non-EU countries of citizenship were Nigeria, China, Albania, Vietnam and Morocco.

(…) “and the refugee crisis worsened the situation as refugees are being exploited by criminal networks, said Myria Vassiliadou (EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator) during the meeting at the European Parliament of the Working Group on Human Dignity on  “Combatting Human Trafficking”. “If we want to understand human trafficking we need to ask ourselves who profits from the exploitation of others,” she added.

We must stop human trafficking!”, was the common appeal of the Working Group on Human Dignity at the European Parliament.

dsc02942Diane Dodds MEP, who moderated and hosted the meeting, noted in her opening remarks that the event coincides with the annual EU Anti–Trafficking day (18 October) and that trafficking is now recognized by governments around Europe as a major trans-border challenge.

Bastiaan Belder MEP (ECR, Chair of the Steering Committee of the Working Group) underlined that “as a Christian, I believe that in order to fight trafficking, we need to follow the example of Jesus Christ who did not condemn sinners but helped them change their lives through his love”. He also called on the participants to imagine how they would react if members of their own families were victims of human trafficking and forced prostitution.

Frits Rouvoet, Director of Brightfame Foundation, an organization that supports women in prostitution, said: “These women have no dreams, they don’t know what to do” emphasizing the fact that the help they receive from the State is not adequate and often does not arrive in time. Finally, he argued that the use of “sexual services” should be criminalized again in the Netherlands.

 MEP Alojz Peterle (EPP) noted that a “legislative approach is necessary in the fight against human trafficking, but not at all enough. It is a problem that concerns first and foremost the victims and also society as a whole, a special issue that requires a lot of attention and personal engagement”.

“We must join our forces to strongly fight against trafficking in human beings which undermines human dignity in its very essence. I call on wide European cooperation in prevention of these horrible crimes and strong protection of victims», underlined MEP Miroslav Mikolášik (EPP), chairman of the EPP Working Group on Bioethics and Human Dignity.