The European Socialists and Democrats called on the EU member states to actively implement the 2012-2016 EU Strategy towards the eradication of human trafficking, as the number of victims remains shockingly high.
Following the presentation of the Commission's mid-term report on EU strategy today at the European Parliament, the S&D Group pressed European governments to grant residence permits to the victims of human trafficking and to offer greater financial support to NGOs providing free legal advice.
Moreover, the S&Ds urged the EU and its member states to ratify the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (known as the Istanbul Convention).
S&D vice-president Tanja Fajon MEP said:
"Trafficking of human beings is a serious violation of fundamental rights, often linked with organised crime, not only in the European Union but worldwide. We need a comprehensive and coherent approach, protecting the victims and punishing the criminals.
"Economic and sexual exploitation is a disgrace for Europe, undermining the dignity of human beings. The S&D Group has repeatedly called on the European Commission to use all means available to prevent human trafficking and to ensure detailed comparative data is collected."
Marie Arena MEP, S&D spokesperson on women's rights and gender equality, said:
"We must pursue these efforts at a European and national level to eradicate human trafficking, with a particular emphasis on women, who represent 80% of the victims.
"The EU member states need to focus on the victims by offering protection and support, notably by giving access to effective justice and granting residence permits."
The European Commission mid-term report:
Some key findings
- 30,146 victims were recorded in the 28 EU member states over the three years 2010-2012. The national authorities are becoming better at identifying and getting in contact with trafficking victims.
- 80% of recorded victims were female.
- 16% of recorded victims were children.
- Over 1,000 child victims were recorded as trafficked for sexual exploitation.
- 69% of recorded victims were trafficked for sexual exploitation.
- 95% of recorded victims of sexual exploitation were female.
- 71% of recorded victims of labour exploitation were male.
- 65% of recorded victims were EU citizens.
- 8,551 prosecutions for trafficking in human beings were reported by member states over the three years 2010-2012.
- Over 70% of traffickers were male. This is the case for suspects, prosecutions and convicted traffickers.
- 3,786 convictions for trafficking in human beings were reported by member states over the three years.