The European Union on Monday (23 May) published its first report on the fight against human trafficking. The report presents trends and challenges in addressing human trafficking, assesses the progress made and pinpoints key areas that the EU and its Member States should focus on. Despite the progress made, there is still more that needs to be done. Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs, and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said that “it is morally and legally unacceptable and inexcusable that in the EU of the 21st century, there are human beings who are bought, sold and exploited like commodities.“ He added that it was EU‘s “personal, collective and legal duty to stop this”.
According to the report, in 2013-1014, almost 16,000 people – women, men, girls and boys – were registered as victims of human trafficking in the EU. However, the actual number is believed to be much higher due to the complexity of reporting on the victims of human trafficking. The report says that the most widespread motive for human trafficking was sexual exploitation (about 67 percent of registered victims) followed by labor exploitation (21 percent registered victims). While 75 percent of all victims were women, 15 percent were children but the number of children falling victim to human trafficking is rising, which is one the most worrying developments. Other vulnerable groups include victims of Roma ethnic background and victims with disabilities.
The report also analyzes human trafficking in connection with other forms of crime and the exploitation of the popular resentments and insecurities, such as the current migration crisis. Human trafficking constitutes a gross violation of human rights and it is explicitly prohibited under the EU’s the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.