RealStars is part of the EU’s platform for the civil community against human trafficking, where organisations from member states contribute and share their experiences and ideas. Last week we met in Brussels in order to plan more actions. RealStars attended and emphasised the sex buyers’ responsibility and the importance of working against demand in order to create a Europe free from trafficking and promoting equality.
The platform is led by the EU’s co-ordinator against human trafficking, Myria Vassiliadou and her team, which is responsible for improving the co-ordination and interaction between the EU´s different authorities and institutions, member states and international actors as well as developing guidelines for work against human trafficking.
Around 100 organisations from the civil community in the EU take part, all with their own starting points, perspectives and methods, but with the common denominatorof wanting to do away with human trafficking. The work is not always easy to co-ordinate because of the countries´ differing laws relating to, among other things, the buying of sex, since Europe is the continent with the highest number of people being sexually exploited per capita in the world, incredibly great responsibility lies with the EU and member countries.
A great challenge that is brought up during the meeting is the compensation and support programmes for people who have been victims of trafficking, which many times focus on financial compensation, but lack other social efforts to get one out of the vulnerable situation safely. Another challenge that is presented is the stream of migrants in Europe and the difficulty of getting to those people who are susceptible to trafficking with information and support, due to language barriers.
Lastly Vassiliadou points out that the information given often focuses on the victim and their stories, to get attention, but now it is time to put a stop to the penalty-free practice that has reigned, by focusing on the perpetrators.and those who exploit the vulnerable people. Despite all this, it is an uphill struggle for RealStars and other womens’ rights organisations and the sex-buyers’ responsibility remains invisible in discussions on trafficking and prostitution. Many suggestions were made on how we should attract more attention on the subject and hopefully we will see the result in a big campaign that lays the blame at the right door. In the meantime, you can take part in and contribute to a Europe free from Trafficking by signing the RealStars petition HERE on the common law on buying sex in the EU or by supporting RealStars’ work with a donation.