Labour MEPs have demanded the European Commission takes the scandal of human trafficking seriously, by publishing its overdue progress report on how EU countries are tackling the problem and committing to renew its strategy to end the heinous crime.
Labour's European spokesperson on women's rights and gender equality, Mary Honeyball MEP, told the European Parliament today that the Commission needed to incorporate a clear gender perspective with a focus on reducing demand.
Ms Honeyball said:
“Human trafficking is one of the most lucrative criminal activities in the world today. For the traffickers, it is often a low-risk, high-profit venture.
“Statistics show 80 per cent of victims of trafficking in the EU are women and that, of them, the vast majority are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation and prostitution.
“This is the slave trade of our time.
“We have, in the form of a Directive, a clear definition and a comprehensive and integrated framework for combatting trafficking in human beings.
“It is now time to fully assess this act, particularly the protection it has offered women.”
“Voters in the UK will soon be asked to decide on their future place within Europe and the wider world.
“As an active member of the EU, we are able to work together with allies to share knowledge on the ever-changing tactics employed by traffickers. Together, we are developing Europe-wide data to understand flows and trends in trafficking.
“Working with our partners, we are pulling together our resources to identify and prosecute these cross-border criminal networks.
“This is a global problem. But it is also a European problem with European solutions.”