Nearly half of all victims of human trafficking in Europe are EU citizens. One-third are being trafficked within their own country. Despite efforts to crack down on traffickers (who are increasingly using the Internet to ensnare victims), prosecutions and convictions remain low. In 2017-2018, there were over 14,000 trafficking victims registered but only around 6,100 prosecutions and roughly 2,400 convictions.
On 18 February, Friends of Europe held an event titled Turning a blind eye: the human cost of trafficking, exploring new ways to tackle the scourge of human trafficking by shifting the focus onto prevention and policies that put survivors at the centre of counter-trafficking efforts.
Want to learn more about human trafficking in Europe? Check out our infographic below (click for a bigger version):
What do our readers think? We had a comment sent in from Vinko, who points out that the vast majority of people registered as victims of human trafficking in the EU are women, and that the majority are trafficked for sexual exploitation.
We put Vinko’s comment to Maria Soraya Rodríguez Ramos, a Spanish MEP who sits with the Renew Europe group. She was one of the rapporteurs on a European Parliament report assessing the EU’s efforts at preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims. How would she respond? Are certain populations more likely to become a victim of trafficking? If so, why is that?
For another perspective, we put the same question to Olivier Onidi, EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator and Deputy Director General of the Directorate-General Migration and Home Affairs at the European Commission. How would he respond?
Next up, we had a comment from Bodis, who thinks migrants should be discouraged to come to the EU to decrease trafficking. For example, there is clearly a complex relationship between people smuggling and human trafficking, though they are not the same thing. Can immigration policy have an impact on human trafficking?
How would MEP Maria Soraya Rodríguez Ramos respond?
We put the same comment to the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, Olivier Onidi. How would he respond?
Next up, Tom believes a more humane and open attitude towards immigration would reduce the occurrence of trafficking and the abuse of migrants. Again: human trafficking and people smuggling are not the same thing. Nevertheless, do xenophobia and racism contribute to trafficking in humans? What would Maria Soraya Rodríguez Ramos say?
Finally, Elga thinks EU member states should be more engaged in trying to combat the causes of trafficking in the countries where it originates.
Should European countries do more to combat the causes of trafficking in the countries of origin? How would Olivier Onidi respond?
How can Europe combat human trafficking? Should European countries do more to combat the causes of trafficking in the countries of origin? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!