The EU Commission is publishing new statistics today – ”Trafficking in human beings”

Half of the allotted time, from 2012 to 2016, for the EU strategy for the elimination of human trafficking has now passed. In preparation for the EU anti-trafficking day the EU commission published their report “Trafficking in human beings (working paper)” on October 17th. The report details statistics of victims of trafficking and human traffickers between 2010 and 2012. In this report we can see that victims of sexual exploitation is a large majority of the numbers of victims of human trafficking in Europe, and that 95% of the victims are women and girls.

The report entails both overall and detailed statistics. While reading the report and the below stated summary it is important to keep in mind that the report is about determined cases which is a small number of the almost 900 000 people who have earlier been assessed to have been victims of trafficking in Europe. How much resources are being allotted to identify and save victims for trafficking is significant for the statistics but primarily how different countries maintain respect for human rights, and especially when it comes to the most vulnerable and susceptible individuals.

In the report it is stated that between 2010 and 2012 all 28 EU member states, together with Montenegro, Norway, Iceland, Serbia, Switzerland and Turkey there are more than 30 000 known victims of trafficking. This is the number of victims that authorities have met and identified.

Of these 30 000 individuals 69% are victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation. Of these, over 20 000 individuals 95% are women and girls. Of the total number of trafficking victims a large group is women and girls, around 80%.

The report depicts that 71% of those who have fallen victim for trafficking for labour purposes are men, and the total number of men and boys who fall victim to trafficking amounts to 20%.

The report also sheds new light on previously stated facts. Male and female victims of trafficking are exploited for different purposes; this needs to be highlighted and discussed more. Women are exploited sexually while men are exploited as labour. We can see in this report that we always have to have a gender perspective when we talk about trafficking.

This also becomes clear when we reach the part of the report that addresses the trafficker. More than 70% of all human traffickers who have been registered as a result of being arrested, prosecuted or convicted, are men.
Fifteen of the all EU member states also keep statistics of what type of trafficking human traffickers have been prosecuted or convicted for. All of these 15 reports states that trafficking for sexual exploitation has occurred. This is not true for any other type of trafficking.

Once again it has been made clear that trafficking for sexual exploitation has to be combated in all EU member states, and of course also in the rest of the world. In countries who do not have legislation that regulates the sex trade it is difficult for the police to intervene as they lack the necessary tools. It is also difficult to combat the demand of sex slaves, which is the propelling factor of human trade for sexual purposes.

Herein lies a major challenge and Sweden has an important role to support agencies in Europe who works for legislation and a proactive approach to decreasing the demand. According to the trafficking directive, it is also an obligation of the EU member states to decrease the demand, and the efforts in these regards will be evaluated in 2016.

The report can be read in its entirety here. More information on the EUs efforts against trafficking can be found here.