Tuesday

25th Sep 2018

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

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join 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.

Salzburg summit presses for bigger Frontex mandate

Issues of sovereignty remain entrenched following a proposal by the European Commission to expand the EU's border and coast guard, also known as Frontex, to 10,000. But EU leaders maintain a "basic consensus" of support had been reached.

EU promotes 'Egypt model' to reduce migrant numbers

EU council president Donald Tusk wants to discuss deepening relations with authoritarian Egypt, as a model of migrant reduction, with EU heads of state and government at a meeting in Salzburg, Austria on Wednesday.

Analysis

EU to shore up borders, returns and migrant detentions

The European Commission wants more border controls, detentions and returns for rejected asylum seekers. The harsh tone is part of a broader anti-migrant mood. "We are treated like rats," one asylum seeker stuck on a Greek island told this website.

Visual Data

Europeans also seek EU asylum

Every year, almost 100,000 Europeans seek asylum in EU countries. The number of applications continues to grow, but the issue remains on the margins of political debate.

News in Brief

  1. UN chief: World suffering from 'trust deficit disorder'
  2. Stalemate in Sweden as parliament ousts prime minister
  3. Migrant rescue ship heading to French port
  4. EU angry at British tabloids on Brexit
  5. UK to allow EU flights in no-deal Brexit
  6. Greek reporters arrested after story on 'mishandled' EU funds
  7. Austrian minister urges police to out foreign sex offenders
  8. ECB's Draghi set to clarify role in secretive G30 group

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  5. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  6. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  7. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  8. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  9. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  10. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  11. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Latest News

  1. EU court delivers transparency blow on MEP expenses
  2. Russian with Malta passport in money-laundering probe
  3. Cyprus: Russia's EU weak link?
  4. Missing signature gaffe for Azerbaijan gas pipeline
  5. Every major city in Europe is getting warmer
  6. No chance of meeting EU renewable goals if infrastructure neglected
  7. Brexit and MEPs expenses in the spotlight This WEEK
  8. Wake-up call on European Day Against Islamophobia

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us