MEPs call for a gender- and victim-centred approach to human trafficking

The European Parliament’s Civil Liberties and Women’s Rights and Gender Equality committees have urged the European Commission to publish a specific and dedicated EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings without further delay

MEPs have called for a comprehensive, gender- and victim-centred approach to human trafficking, emphasising the need for comparable and detailed data around its scale and trends in the EU.

A report adopted by the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties and Women’s Rights and Gender Equality committees confirmed that asylum-seekers, refugees and migrants, women and unaccompanied minors, are most vulnerable to trafficking.

Sexual exploitation remains the most prevalent and reported form of trafficking in the EU. It disproportionately affects women and girls, further indication of how trafficking for sexual exploitation is rooted in gender inequalities.

The report noted that nearly a quarter of all victims of human trafficking are children, and therefore called on Member States to make sure strong child protection measures are in place.

It highlighted the use of the internet, social media and digital technologies to recruit victims and urged the Commission to address the use of online technologies in both the proliferation and the prevention of trafficking of human beings.

The Commission should also to publish a specific and dedicated EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings without further delay, the report said.

The committees said that, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, support services have encountered greater difficulties when trying to assist victims of human trafficking.

“The crime of trafficking is based on the abuse of the vulnerability of victims, mostly women and girls, sexually exploited in Europe,” co-rapporteur Maria Soraya Rodriguez Ramos (Renew, ES) said.

“Demand for sexual services drives trafficking. We therefore demand a reform of the 2011 directive in order for member states to criminalise the use of those services, discouraging demand and preventing exploitation.”

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