New report on the human trafficking industries giant costs and suffering within the EU

New report on the human trafficking industries giant costs and suffering within the EU 

All of those working against prostitution and trafficking are faced with a reality that is difficult to comprehend. Due to trauma and injuries, the process back to a normal life without exploitation is often long. A question asked by many is if it is possible to translate the damages and suffering into numbers? Now, a report with the purpose of doing just that has been published in concurrence with the EU day for anti-trafficking 2020. The report, called “Study on the economic, social and human costs of trafficking in human beings within the EU” is financed by the EU commission to transfer the societies costs for trafficking to numbers. This type of foundation is both essential to understand the width of these crimes, as well as difficult to grasp.   

 The people exposed to abuse and exploitation through trafficking are described in the terms of violence and coercion. It is about injuries in the forms of physical violence and sexual violence, but also the use of threats to manipulate and break down people mentally. For those who fall victims to these crimes, it intends suffering in both mental and physical illness. This suffering further creates large costs for the society. The costs for the EU that are caused by the trafficking industry are multifaceted and consist of, among other things, high costs for law enforcement, healthcare services, specialist services, social protection and coordination of preventive measures against trafficking. The only ones who are profiting from the criminal exploitation are the traffickers, who extract large profits. 

The total cost within the EU caused by the trafficking industry amounted, according to the report, to the unbelievable sum of 3 700 524 433 euro the year of 2016. The number of registered trafficking victims in the same year estimated up to 11 832 people. The cost calculation originates from the number of victims registered (identified and presumed) for human trafficking within the EU. The actual number of victims is often significantly higher than the registered, which is why this data can be seen as an underestimation.   

Profound damages of sexual exploitation 

The report divides the cost for different forms of human trafficking, such as sexual exploitation, labor exploitation and other forms of exploitation. For us working against sexual exploitation, it is not surprising that the report shows that the costs for sexual exploitation is higher than other forms of exploitation. We know that the damages are profound and stay with the person during a long period of time. We also know that the sexually abused are exposed to a higher degree of violence than those exposed to labor exploitation. This is additionally confirmed in the report, by stating that the damages and violence among victims for sexual exploitation are to a greater extent in need of healthcare services and social protection, exposed to a large financial loss and a loss of quality of life. The horrific damage and suffering that women and girls who are sold for sexual purposes around prostitution “markets” around in Europe (92% of all victims within the EU), and whose bodies are made accessible for abuse, demands rehabilitation and similar support during a long time for the possibility to be reintegrated within the society. The costs are additionally higher for female victims, which often correlates to the higher costs in connection with the sexual abuse that mainly affects women.

The report in all its parts shows that it is about time to improve the implementation of the EU directive with its three pillars – prevent, protect and prosecute the guilty. RealStars see, together with several political and organizations, the need for sex purchase laws to significantly counteract the demand that contributes to the damages and suffering described in the report.  

To read the report on the costs of human trafficking in its entirety: 

The EU-commission is regularly collecting data regarding the situation with trafficking in the EU as a part of implementing the EU anti-trafficking directive from 2011. The number of member states that now collect data and report the number of victims registered and presumed, have increased. Additionally, there has been an increase in the number of charges, but the hidden statistics are high. 

  • For the total period of 2017-2018 there were 26 268 registered victims within the EU-28. 
  • During 2017-2018, the five member states with the highest number of registered victims were the UK (12 123), France (2 846), Italy (1 988), The Netherlands (1 624) and Germany (1 380). 
  • The five member states in EU-28 with the highest share of registered victims for trafficking with sexual exploitation was Hungary (97 %), Estonia (82 %), Slovenia (80 %), Rumania (68 %), and Germany (67%). 
  • A large majority of the victims for trafficking with sexual exploitation in EU-27 was women (92 %) during 2017-2018. 
  • 23% of the victims for trafficking of sexual exploitation were children (EU 27), 26 % (EU 28). 
  • The kind of human trafficking with EU-citizenship 2017-2018 (EU 28) were mainly sexual exploitation (53 %), followed by labor exploitation (18 %), and other (25 %). People who are not EU-citizens within trafficking and who were registered in EU 2017-2018 were exposed to trafficking mainly by sexual exploitation (41 %) followed by forced labor (24 %) and others (24 %).