The EU-commission regularly present status reports regarding trafficking in Europe. Before Christmas last year the last registered numbers were published that measured the number of trafficking victims to 20 532. But we know that the reality is crueler than that. The unrecorded numbers are large and the industry is continuing to grow. RealStars welcomes the report but also knows that it is important that more vulnerable people are identified and receives shelter and that the guilty are brought to justice.
The EU commission’s second status report on the work against human trafficking and trafficking emanates from article 20 in the EU’s trafficking directive (2011/36/EU). The commission has gathered statistics from their member states (2015-2016) that show progress, as well as challenges that need prioritizing. In comparison to the first status report the statistic is more extensive than before, but variates in detail which can affect the end-results. One should remember that the statistic is only based on individuals that in any way have been in contact with the police, the legal system, or organizations. The unrecorded numbers are large. A french organization, Fondation Scelled, appreciate that between one and two million humans are victims of sexual exploitation in Europe.
Who are the victims?
The number of registered victims for trafficking during 2015-2016 was measured to 20 532 humans. Women and girls continue to be the group that is most exposed and corresponds to more than two-thirds of the victims. Approximately half of all the victims are non-European citizens, while the rest foremost originates from Nigeria, Albania, Vietnam, China and Eritrea. Through the internet and social media, it has become easier for human traffickers and purchasers of sex to reach young people, which has led to more children being exploited.
Different forms of human trafficking
As the picture below shows, human trafficking for sexual purposes constitutes to be the most widespread form of exploiting within the EU, where women constitute of 95 % of the victims. Thereafter follows work-related exploitation where men are the largest group of victims with 80%. Other forms of exploitation are forced marriage, begging, organ sales and recruiting for criminal purposes.
Who are human traffickers?
Human traffickers often change their way of working, partly as a way not to get caught but also to get in contact with new victims. An observed trend is that the physical forcing more and more becomes psychological and emotional violence. What also appeared is that women that previously been a victim in a larger extent become human traffickers.
The report also raises the question about how the refugee flows can affect the trafficking industry. Due to the slow processes for asylum seekers the risk increases for humans to be exploited by human traffickers. The picture below summarises vulnerable groups and forms of exploitation.
Success and Setbacks
Among the success entails foremost a higher amount of cross-border cooperation between the member-state, among others through Interpol and Eurojust common effort. Despite this, trafficking is an industry that is always in development and increasing the number of people involved. Therefore, The EU-commission presents a list with prioritized measures to continue the work to eliminate human trafficking, which is: Improve the collection of data from the member-states, counter impunity, advocate for cooperation between the different EU organs as well as secure the victim’s asset to secure legal processes.
Why is this relevant to RealStars?
RealStars has since the start focused on the request and how this controls the supply to stop trafficking. The EU-commission points out the severity of the fact that the perpetrators are still considered free from crimes and encourages member states to criminalize those who knowingly use humans who could be victims of trafficking.
More has to be done! RealStars advocate that ALL types of sex purchases should be fully criminalized in the same way as in Sweden, Norway, Iceland and France. To protect the victim of trafficking instead of punishing them is of the highest priority to be able to come to terms with the issue and exterminate human trafficking.
For further reading see linked documents below.