Commission adopted the first Report on progress in the fight against trafficking in human beings.
The European Commission reported on progress in the fight against trafficking in human beings. The report presents trends and challenges in addressing trafficking in human beings, examines progress made and highlights key challenges that the EU and its Member States need to address as a priority. Despite progress made, EU Member States need to step up efforts to fight effectively against trafficking in human beings.
Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs, and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said: "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. It is our personal, collective and legal duty to stop this. We have put in place a strong and forward-looking legislative framework to do this. Our main responsibility is to ensure it is now fully implemented so that those responsible are prosecuted and the victims are fully protected and assisted. Today's landmark report will guide us in further developing our policy framework."
The EU Anti-trafficking coordinator, Myria Vassiliadou, said: "The adoption of the EU Anti-trafficking Directive in 2011 created important momentum in raising awareness on the scale of the phenomenon in the EU and the need to address it with a wide range of tools, from criminal law to prevention measures. The trends and challenges identified in this Report clearly show that it is now high time for Member States to step-up efforts to effectively implement the Directive and comply with its obligations."
The report finds that in 2013-2014, 15,846 women, men, girls and boys were registered as victims of trafficking in the EU. Given the complexity of reporting on this phenomenon, the actual number of victims is likely to be substantially higher than those registered by national authorities. According to the Report, trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation is still the most widespread form (67% of registered victims), followed by trafficking for labour exploitation (21% of registered victims). Over three quarters of the registered victims were women (76%), while at least 15% were children.
One of the most sharply increasing trends has been in the number of children falling victim to human traffickers. Victims with disabilities and victims of Roma ethnic background were also identified as increasing in number.
The report also highlights links between human trafficking and other forms of crime and the exploitation of the most vulnerable in the context of the current migration crisis as well as an increased use of the internet and new technologies to recruit victims.
To address the key challenges in the fight against trafficking in human beings, EU Member States need to fully and correctly implement the EU Anti-trafficking Directive in order to increase the number of investigations and prosecutions of perpetrators, establish appropriate mechanisms for the early identification and protection of victims and enhance measures to prevent the trafficking of human beings.
The Commission will continue working on a coordinated and consistent response to trafficking in human beings. By the end of 2016, the Commission will publish two reports on compliance and criminalisation as well as a post-2016 Strategy on trafficking in human beings. Child protection along the migration route is a top priority and the Commission is also paying particular attention to unaccompanied minors – very vulnerable to traffickers – in its reform of the Common European asylum system.
Errata Corrige. The table on page 13 of the report, that refers to DGPJ / MJ as a secondary data source of the OTSH, should read as follows:
Portugal has established an Observatory on Trafficking in Human Beings (OTSH) which is to be understood as a monitoring system to collect quantitative and qualitative data from different entities with activities related to trafficking in human beings and to analyse data, and produce knowledge about the phenomenon. These activities include criminal and judicial related actions, as well as activities to support victim’s social reintegration. The OTSH has a network of more than 30 governmental and non-governmental bodies as primary data sources, as the DGPJ/Ministry of Justice, which provides the official data related to criminal and judicial actions (investigations, prosecutions and convictions). As secondary data sources, the OTSH contacts national Liaisons Officers, IOM/Lisbon Office, Europol. The Monitoring System is a part of the national referral mechanism on trafficking in human beings in Portugal. The status given to registers (as far as ‘Identified’ or ‘Not a victim of trafficking’) is given by the competent authority. The OTSH produces trimestral reports (classified) and an Annual Statistical Report that are validated by all data providers.