The President of the ALDE Gender Equality Network Flo Clucas and liberal European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström have expressed their profound concern and disappointment after a report revealed that human trafficking in the EU has increased in recent years and 80% of the victims are women and young girls. They also strongly criticised 21 EU member states for the delays in implementing into national law the EU directive on human trafficking, adopted in March 2011.
The European Commission report presented on Monday, the first compilation of data from more than 25 European nations of its kind, showed human trafficking increased by 18% between 2008 and 2010 and that during the same time the number of convictions for the crime fell by 13%.
As EU member states identified human trafficking as one of the priority areas in the fight against organised crime, the ALDE Gender Equality Network is very disappointed and worried that, despite the alarming trends, only a few countries have implemented the anti-trafficking legislation.
Flo Clucas, President of the ALDE Gender Equality Network, said: “Even though EU governments have had two years to implement tougher standardised anti-trafficking legislation, only six out of 27 states have done this. Large EU-states, such as Germany, France and Great Britain have not implemented tougher measures in their national legislatures, this is not acceptable.”
”Human trafficking will increase unless effective action is taken. Tackling poverty and ignorance is one part of the solution; effective international police action throughout Europe is another. What starts as a problem in one EU country quickly ends as crime in another. That is why it is important to act together and have appropriate legislation,” she said.
“The ALDE Gender Equality Network urges those states that have not yet done so to respect their obligations and put an end to this modern slavery.”
Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, said: “Only a few years ago, many leading politicians in Europe acted as though the problem did not exist, or at least did not exist in their country. Now we can even say with certainty that the situation has deteriorated.”
“It is high time for Member States to stop dragging their feet. Each EU country must start by implementing the new EU trafficking legislation, and prioritise investigations and legal action against these crimes. That would be a loud and clear signal to victims that we will not let their suffering continue.”
Directive 2011/36/EU on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims was adopted in March 2011 by the European Council and the European Parliament. The legislation means that courts throughout the EU should look at these as serious crimes and that all countries must give proper support to the victims.
The six countries to have introduced the directive entirely are Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Poland and Sweden.
The Eurostat report states the profile of victims by gender and age was 68 % women, 17 % men, 12 % girls and 3 % boys.