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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 17 October 2014

Trafficking in human beings 2010-2014: eradicating the slave trade

During the years 2010-2012, EU Member States registered 30 146 victims of trafficking in human beings. Behind this number are human tragedies, broken hopes and destroyed plans for a better life. During the same period, 8 551 prosecutions against traffickers were reported across the EU. 80 percent of victims of trafficking were female, and over 1 000 child victims were registered as trafficked for sexual exploitation. This data is part of a statistical report on victims and perpetrators of trafficking released today by the European Commission. A report also shows that many concrete measures against this severe human rights violation have been undertaken during 2010-2014, such as better cooperation with civil society, and guidelines issued to border authorities and other stakeholders on how to better identify victims.

To mark the 8th EU Anti-trafficking day on 18 October 2014, the Commission is today taking stock of all coordinated efforts which have been made during the 2010-2014 European Commission mandate towards the goal of eradicating human trafficking. With the adoption of the EU Anti-trafficking Directive in 2011, courts all over Europe are now judging crimes relating to human trafficking as equally severe, with common prison sentences, and EU countries are obliged to provide proper support to victims. Also, in the EU 2012-2016 Strategy on Trafficking in human beings, the EU has set out 40 concrete and practical measures against trafficking in human beings, putting the protection and rights of the victims at the forefront.

The European Commission today presents a mid-term report of the 2012-2016 EU strategy, accompanied by the statistical report on victims and traffickers for the years 2010-2012. The Commission is also reporting on the use of the Directive on residence permits to non EU victims of human trafficking.

Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, said: "When I took office as Commissioner in charge of Home Affairs almost five years ago, one of my main priorities was to work towards the eradication of trafficking in human beings. Back then, eradicating trafficking was not high on the political agenda and there was a lax attitude towards the crime in many countries. Today, we can be proud over what has been achieved to prevent this slave trade of our time. We have moved from words to real action. We must continue our work tirelessly, in Europe and beyond our borders. We owe it to the women, men, girls and boys who, as we speak, are being kept against their will and exploited in appalling conditions. Every victim of human trafficking is a victim too many."

The EU 2012-2016 Strategy: Working towards the eradication of trafficking in human beings

Carrying out the concrete actions of the 2012-2016 EU Strategy on trafficking in human beings is well underway. A large amount of work has been done at EU level to get to the root of the problem, with initiatives aiming to:

  • Better identify victims: Guidelines issued to authorities and other stakeholders on the identification of victims of trafficking in human beings, in particular for border guards and consular services

  • Engage and closely cooperate with civil society: the creation of the EU Civil Society Platform against trafficking in human beings and the e-Platform for hundreds of civil society organisations working on trafficking in human beings

  • Increase knowledge on the phenomenon: the launch of studies on case law on labour exploitation, evaluation of prevention initiatives and on children as high risk group

  • Better inform victims of their rights: guidelines issued to all Member States on EU rights of victims of trafficking in human beings

  • Better assist and protect children as particularly vulnerable: Handbook for authorities and other stakeholders - "Guardianship for children deprived of parental care"

  • Make full use of the EU Agencies working on the topic of trafficking in human beings

  • Strengthen cooperation with non-EU countries: the implementation of the 2009 Action Oriented Paper on strengthening the EU external dimension of trafficking in human beings.

Data collection: some key findings

Today, the European Commission publishes the second working paper at the EU level on statistics on trafficking in human beings, covering the years 2010, 2011 and 2012. This is the only statistical data collection existing at EU level on trafficking in human beings. Encouraging progress has been achieved in terms of availability of data, but the working paper also points to a need for further improvement. The working paper does not measure the full extent of trafficking in human beings, it provides data only on the victims and traffickers that have come into contact with authorities and actors at national level.

Victims

  1. 30 146 victims were registered in the 28 EU Member States over the three years 2010-2012. Member States’ authorities are becoming better at identifying and getting in contact with trafficking victims.

  2. 80% of registered victims were female.

  3. 16% of registered victims were children.

  4. Over 1 000 child victims were registered as trafficked for sexual exploitation.

  5. 69% of registered victims were trafficked for sexual exploitation.

  6. 95% of registered victims of sexual exploitation were female.

  7. 71% of registered victims of labour exploitation were male.

  8. 65% of registered victims were EU citizens.

Traffickers

  1. 8 551 prosecutions for trafficking in human beings were reported by Member States over the three years 2010-2012.

  2. Over 70% of traffickers were male. This is the case for suspects, prosecutions and convicted traffickers.

  3. 3 786 convictions for trafficking in human beings were reported by Member States over the three years.

Protecting victims: Issuing residence permits to protect non-EU victims while enabling their cooperation with the authorities

In a separate Communication also published today, the Commission reports on the application of Directive 2004/81/EC that regulates the granting of a residence permit to non-EU victims of trafficking who cooperate with the authorities for the investigation and prosecution of traffickers.

Available figures show that the possibility of issuing temporary residence permits to non-EU victims is currently under-used. For example, in 2012 only 1 124 first residence permits were granted in the EU to victims who cooperated with the authorities, whereas for that very same year 23 Member States registered 2 171 non-EU citizens as victims of trafficking.

The Commission will continue to engage with Member States to ensure full and correct implementation of the legislation and to facilitate exchange of good practices, such as individual risk assessments for all victims prior to and during their cooperation.

Useful Links

Full statistical report on trafficking in human beings 2010-2012

Mid-term report on the 2012-2016 EU Strategy on trafficking in human beings

Communication on the application of Directive 2004/81/EC on residence permits to non EU victims of human trafficking.

Infographics

Cecilia Malmström's website

Follow Commissioner Malmström on Twitter

EU Anti-Trafficking website

DG Home Affairs website

Follow DG Home Affairs on Twitter

Contacts :

Michele Cercone (+32 2 298 09 63)

Tove Ernst (+32 2 298 67 64)

For the public: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 or by e­mail


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