Sunday

24th Oct 2021

EU ringed by human trafficking offenders

  • Trafficking route runs from Nigeria, via Libya, to Italy or Germany (Photo: frehdyboy)

The EU is encircled by a ring of the world’s worst offenders on human trafficking, a US state department report has said.

In the south, it neighbours the “special case” of Libya, and is ringed by Mauritania, Mali, Sudan, Eritrea, Syria, and Iran - all of them countries that do not meet US “minimum standards” on prevention of trafficking and “are not making significant efforts to do so”, the report, out on Tuesday (27 June), said.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Lack of rule-of-law made Libya a "special case" (Photo: Internews Network)

In the east, Russia and Belarus fell into the same category.

The state department's yearly survey said Libya’s government “lacked the capacity to address basic security challenges, including human trafficking” and that there was “lack of rule-of-law”.

“Migrants in Libya are extremely vulnerable to trafficking, including those seeking employment in Libya or transiting Libya en route to Europe”, it said.

It said that jihadist group IS had taken captive “at least 540 migrants and refugees” to use as slaves since mid-2015.

It also said that “elements of the Libyan Coast Guard have reportedly worked with armed groups and other criminals, including traffickers, to exploit migrants for profit”.

The report noted that more than half of Syria’s pre-war population had been displaced and that women and children were being forced into sexual and other forms of slavery in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey.

On the EU’s eastern side, the US said women from Belarus and Ukraine were being trafficked for sex in Russia, Poland, and Turkey.

It said that “fuelled by Russian aggression, the conflict in eastern Ukraine has displaced nearly 2 million people, and this population is especially vulnerable to exploitation”.

It said that in Russia “organised crime syndicates … sometimes play a role in exploiting labour migrants, and corruption among some government officials and within some state agencies creates an environment enabling some trafficking crimes.”

Most EU countries scored the highest ranking in the US survey, but Hungary and Bulgaria were put on a “watchlist” over issues including increase in victims and poor law enforcement.

Traffickers continued to claim victims in the heart of the EU, whether among people coming via Libya to Italy or moving north to Germany.

“The estimated number of trafficking victims in Italy increased significantly due to the continued dramatic flow of migrants and asylum-seekers arriving by boat from sub-Saharan Africa,” the US said.

It noted that the number of estimated Nigerian women who were trafficked in Italy almost tripled last year.

It said Nigerian, Bulgarian, and Romanian women are being trafficked for sex in Germany, while Afghan, Bulgarian, Pakistani, Polish, Romanian, and Vietnamese people were being used as forced labour.

“The large influx of migrants during the 2015 and 2016 refugee crises continues to place a significant strain on [German] government resources at all levels and among agencies responsible for combating trafficking”, the US said.

EU states want more Belarus sanctions

EU heads of state and government on Friday, at a summit in Brussels, demanded more sanctions against Belarus "as a matter of urgency" and want the European Commission to tweak rules governing borders to tackle "state-sponsored smuggling".

Analysis

Commissions's new migration pact still seeking 'landing zone'

Last October, the European Commission gave an optimistic outlook on the adoption of its migration and asylum pact. EU commission vice-president Margaritis Schinas said its pact on migration was lowering the landing gear - suggesting agreement was possible.

Poland doubles troop numbers on Belarus border

Poland doubled the number of troops to 6,000 on its Belarus border, amid an ongoing standoff with stranded migrants - at least seven of whom have died as temperatures start to plummet.

News in Brief

  1. Russia's anti-vax campaign backfired, EU says
  2. China angered as MEPs call for Taiwan talks
  3. Emissions from La Palma volcano reach Brussels
  4. Body of eighth victim of Belarus border-crisis found in river
  5. Report: Syrian bank fiddling currency to evade EU sanctions
  6. Nato adopts plan to counter new Russian threats
  7. Alleged killer of British MP 'felt affiliated' to IS
  8. Coronavirus: Belgium returns to 'red' zone

Libya to get new EU-funded boats despite crimes

The EU Commission is to deliver three new 'P150' patrol boats to the Libyan coast guard, despite a recent UN report citing possible crimes against humanity at Libyan detention centres.

Dozen ministers want EU to finance border walls

Interior ministers from 12 member states are demanding the EU finance border-wall projects to stop migrants entering through Belarus, in a further push towards a fortress Europe.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew report reveals bad environmental habits
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImproving the integration of young refugees
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

Latest News

  1. EU states want more Belarus sanctions
  2. Gas price spike exposes rift at EU summit
  3. Poland vows not to give into EU 'blackmail' at summit
  4. EU vows to uphold Paris climate ambition amid scientists' fears
  5. Commissions's new migration pact still seeking 'landing zone'
  6. Europe can't ignore Chinese encroachment in Ukraine
  7. Lithuania - where 'biodiversity funding' is cutting down trees
  8. Dutch lawyers take Frontex to EU court over pushbacks

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us