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S&D Group: EU anti-trafficking rules need an upgrade


09 Feb 2021


Justice & Home Affairs

The Socialists and Democrats are leading the European Parliament’s efforts to call for more to be done to fight human trafficking, a horrific crime that affects women and children in particular. Victims of human trafficking, especially when subject to sexual exploitation, are often highly vulnerable people that require significant levels of support. In highlighting the essential role that gender plays in this crime, MEPs want to upgrade the anti-trafficking directive to ensure better protections for victims and put an end to impunity of traffickers across the EU.

Juan Fernando López Aguilar MEP, S&D chair of the civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee and rapporteur, said:

"The anti-trafficking directive has been in place in the EU for 10 years, but the time has come to revise the rules to better prevent and prosecute human trafficking in Europe. Nearly 75% of all victims of human trafficking in the EU are women and girls, and most are victims of sexual exploitation. We must do everything in our power to eradicate these terrible crimes inflicted on vulnerable people, many of whom are migrants or asylum seekers and a quarter of whom are children who need strong child protection measures in place. The time has come for a specific revision to the anti-trafficking directive to make it a criminal offence to use services provided by victims of trafficking. At the same time, member states need to do more to support and protect victims of human trafficking, for example by guaranteeing access to legal and procedural assistance and psychological and medical support."

Maria Noichl MEP, S&D spokeswoman in the women’s rights and shadow rapporteur, said:

"It is crucial that we implement strong measures against human trafficking in its most dangerous form: the sexual exploitation of girls and women. 78% of all children trafficked are girls and 68 % of adults trafficked are women. Gender inequality enables sexual exploitation. There must be no tolerance for any forms of violence against women and girls, and the demand of purchasing sex needs to be decreased drastically. We demand gender-sensitive training for anyone involved in cases of human trafficking and tailor-made support for victims of sexual exploitation in all member states."