Extracts from the press conference by Cecilia Malmström on tackling human trafficking - the entry into force of the EU Anti-Trafficking Directive
Type: Summary of press conference
Brussels - EC/Berlaymont
On 15 April 2013, Cecilia Malmström, Member of the EC in charge of Home Affairs, held a statement on tackling human trafficking - entry into force of the EU Anti-Trafficking Directive, in Brussels.
23.632 people were identified or presumed victims of trafficking in the EU over the 2008-2010 period. This is the most striking figure emerging from the first report on trafficking in human beings in Europe, published by the European Commission on the same day.
The report also highlights that the number of people being trafficked in and to the EU increased by 18% from 2008 to 2010, but less traffickers end up behind bars, since convictions decreased by 13% over the same period.
Despite this worrying background, to date, only 6 out of the 27 EU Member States have fully transposed the EU Anti-Trafficking Directive into their national legislation and three countries have only reported partial transposition of the directive, with the deadline having expired on 6 April 2013.
In order to curb these trends the ambitious legislation and measures to address trafficking in human beings have to be adequately transposed and implemented.
If the Directive is indeed fully transposed, it has the potential to have a real and concrete impact on the lives of the victims and to prevent others from falling victim to such a heinous crime. This new EU legislation covers actions in different areas such as criminal law provisions, prosecution of offenders, victims' support and victims' rights in criminal proceedings and prevention. It also foresees the establishment in each Member State of a national rapporteur or equivalent mechanism reporting on trends, gathering data and measure the impact of anti-trafficking activities.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior views of the European Commission in Brussels, (2 shots)
||General view of the press conference with Cecilia Malmström, Member of the EC in charge of Home Affairs
||Soundbite by Cecilia Malmström (in ENGLISH): It is hard to believe that today, 2013, in a free and democratic European Union, 23.600 human beings are deprived of their liberty, exploited and traded as commodities for profit, sold as slaves. This is the sad truth, and as we speak, men, women, and children are being sold for sex, hard labour in agriculture, construction, or in the textile industry. They are forced into marriages, domestic servitude, begging or have their organs removed for trade. These are the most vulnerable people in our societies who increasingly become targets of this slavery of our times.
||Cutaway of a cameraman
||Soundbite by Cecilia Malmström (in ENGLISH): Despite the increasing number of victims and the decreasing number of convictions, only a few Member States have implemented the new and stronger legal framework for addressing this issue even though it was agreed quite quickly and with a strong support, back in 2011.
||Cutaway of the audience
||Soundbite by Cecilia Malmström (in ENGLISH): Only six out of the 27 EU Member States) have reported to the Commission that they have fully ratified and implemented these new laws into national legislation. That is the Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Poland and Sweden. The deadline passed on April 6, after a two-year grace period. It is high time now for Member States to stop dragging their feet and to show the victims that this is taking seriously. Today's statistics from the European Commission also show how urgent it is that each EU country implements the trafficking legislation, prioritises investigations and legal action against these crimes. With the new legislation, courts all over Europe will judge crimes relating to human trafficking as equally severe, and EU countries will provide proper support to those who have suffered from this horrendous crime. That would be a strong and clear signal to victims that we will not let their suffering continue. I expect all Member States to do their obligations, transpose the Anti-trafficking Directive into national law without delay and we will of course not hesitate to take the necessary measures to ensure that this is being done.
||Cutaway of the audience
||Soundbite by Cecilia Malmström (in ENGLISH): We know from contact with the police that it is quite difficult to prove the crime of trafficking and that is why it is so important to have the directive in place so that the definition of the crime will be the same all over. It has been difficult to prove; sometimes it has been easy to convict them for pimping or for other related but less severe crimes. We also know that it is difficult to get the victims to testify. They are often very afraid. With this directive, we will further improve the protection of this people and, hopefully, that will help as well.
||Cecilia Malmström leaving the press conference