EU Directive on Trafficking

The new Directive from April 5 2011, will place the victim of human trafficking at the center of attention. The member states have to implement the directive to the national legislations until April 6 2013. The law will help victims and introduce both safety-precautions and criminal provisions. Sadly the directive is not strong enought when it comes to ways to reduce the demand which is the driving force behind this inhumane trade.

Some points from the new legislation (directive):
– Support for victims of human trafficking will be introduced to national programs. The purpose is to quickly identify victims, give them help and support through cooperation between support-groups. Other arrangements consist of supplying safe homes, material support and necessary health-care. If needed, psychological support and advice will be offered.

– Individual treatment should be observed in order to protect victims of human trafficking from secondary victimization, i.e. the repeating of a trauma which can trigger when a victim meets the police or the social services. By making video-recordings early it is possible to avoid repeated interrogations.

– It will introduce a common definition of criminal human trafficking and a basis for what should be considered aggravating circumstances. Immunity will be given to those victims of human trafficking who have involuntarily been a part of criminal activity.

According to the directive, more severe consequences will be introduced for people found guilty of human trafficking. The minimum punishment is five years in prison. Ten years if the victim is a child, if the crime has been a part of a criminal organization, if extreme violence has been used or if the victim’s life has been endangered. A member-state can additionally take precautions against a foreign offender.

– Suggestions for counteracting and reducing the demand. EU brought up the matter of criminalizing those who consciously buy sex from trafficking victims. Sweden has been a driving force regarding this matter. The final directive simply refers to educational efforts and making the member-states aware of the possibility of making consequences for those who buy sex from someone they know is a victim. EU’s member-states are thusly not obliged to create any rules which punish buyers.

The trafficking issue and the EU-directive may come up to political discussions after two years in order to see the results of the countries’ actions.

Even though the directive is a step forward as noted earlier, it doesn’t make everything right. The Swedish law that make it illegal to buy sexual services, has shown some results as a tool for counteracting trafficking.

Prostitution has been normalized in several EU countries. Therefore new solutions for making changes are needed, or as Albert Einstein put it.

”A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels.”

Strong forces want the trade to continue because trafficking is lucrative. We need a harsher legislation in order to reduce the demand. Only then can we see a change where the victims receive real protection and the police are given tools to intervene against prostitution. The countries should work together to prevent more people from having their human rights violated.

It will be interesting to see how many countries acknowledge this call. Click this link if you want to be a part of the European Parliament and Council’s directive 2011/36/EU, 5 April 2011 for the fight against trafficking in human beings:

Malin Roux and Cindy Bauwens

PS. The next post contains answers from EU regarding the campaign Make Fair Sex Real….DS