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EU Parliament - Strategies to prevent trafficking in women and children

Summary: EU Parliament - Strategies to prevent trafficking in women and children (17 January 2006: Strasbourg)

Trafficking in women and children is a growing world-wide problem which needs to be tackled on a global, EU and national level. The European Parliament adopted a report with 622 votes in favour, 12 against and 19 abstentions, proposing strategies to tackle this dreadful problem, including measures to deal with the supply and demand sides as well as the traffickers.

The report calls on the Member States, especially Germany, to take appropriate measures in the course of the World Cup football tournament in 2006 to prevent trafficking of women and forced prostitution.

Women and children are particularly vulnerable to this modern form of slavery. Of the estimated 600,000 to 800,000 men, women and children trafficked across international borders each year approximately 80 percent are women and girls and up to 50 percent are minors*. Over 100,000 women are the victims of trafficking in the EU.

Successful strategies are needed to deal with the main causes of trafficking. It is, however, not possible to address the prevention of trafficking through individual actions by each Member State, notes the European Parliament. Instead, MEPs suggest a holistic and integrated multidisciplinary approach at the EU and international level. The European Parliament also calls for research, at national and European level, into the underlying causes, particularly of trafficking in women and children for sexual exploitation, i.e. what factors place people at risk and what factors affect demand for sexual services and sexual exploitation of women and children.

Prevention also means examining the "triangle of trafficking": victim, trafficker and client. The report suggests practical action, such as awareness raising campaigns to inform of the dangers and educate the vulnerable members of society in the countries of origin, to alert and sensitise the public about the problem and reduce demand in the countries of destination. Another measure envisaged is national and international telephone help-lines. MEPs also highlight the need to tackle the tendency to use the Internet for sexual exploitation. .

The European Parliament calls on the Member States to enforce the law and strengthen the prosecution and punishment of traffickers, accomplices, persons seeking sexual services from minors and to prosecute the laundering of the proceeds of trafficking.

* According to the 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report by the US Department of State office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons:

  • Ref: EP06-003EN
  • EU source: European Parliament
  • UN forum: 
  • Date: 18/1/2006

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European Union Member States