Monday

20th May 2019

EU counts tens of thousands of human trafficking victims

  • 95% of registered victims of sexual exploitation were women (Photo: Cédric Puisney)

The EU registered 30,146 victims of human trafficking from 2010 to 2012, according to a European Commission report out on Friday 17 (October).

The vast majority were trafficked for sexual exploitation, with women and children suffering the most.

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The latest trends offer a sobering glimpse into a crime that is thought to be significantly wider spread.

“We do not claim to have measured the full extent of trafficking,” said EU commissioner for home affairs Cecilia Malmstrom, who presented the report to mark the eighth EU anti-trafficking day.

The data , compiled by the EU’s statistical office Eurostat, comes from national authorities and also notes it “does not aspire to measure the full extent of the phenomenon”.

But it estimates that over 1,000 children were trafficked for sexual exploitation. Around 80 percent of the victims were women of which 95 percent were also trafficked for sex. Others, mostly male, were enslaved for labour.

Just under two-thirds of all registered victims are from EU member states.

Most come from either Romania, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Hungary, or Poland. The rest are trafficked in from Nigeria, Brazil, China, Vietnam, and Russia.

Police have made over 8,500 prosecutions resulting in over 3,786 convictions.

At 70 percent, the people behind the crime were mostly male.

Some member states did not provide any data on trafficker nationalities but of those who did, most either come from Bulgaria, Romania, Belgium, Germany, or Spain.

Non-EU traffickers most frequently come from Nigeria, Turkey, Albania, Brazil, and Morocco.

The EU wants to eradicate the crime. A 2012-2016 EU strategy on trafficking human provides authorities with guidelines to better identify victims, to work closer with civil society, and better inform victims of their rights.

At the same time, member states need to step up efforts to ensure that non-EU victims who co-operate with authorities to prosecute the criminals are granted protection and residency permits.

But the temporary residence scheme, says the commission, is under-used.

It notes that in 2012, only 1,124 first residence permits were granted to victims who co-operated with the authorities. However, 23 member states that same year registered 2,171 non-EU citizens as victims of trafficking.

Twenty-five member states, for their part, have so far transposed the EU’s directive on preventing and combatting human trafficking.

The deadline was April 2013 but the commission says it still had to launch several infringements to get some straggling member states to properly adopt the bill into their own national law systems.

The directive sets up standards to make sure victims are properly protected and that offenders are prosecuted.

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