The European Parliament in Brussels | Photo: EPA/Olivier Hoslet
The European Parliament in Brussels | Photo: EPA/Olivier Hoslet

The European Parliament has approved a resolution calling for stronger measures against human trafficking. The situation for victims – many of them migrant women and children – has gotten even worse since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the resolution's sponsors.

The European Parliament approved a new resolution calling for tougher measures against human trafficking on Wednesday, with 571 votes in favor of the report and only 61 votes against it.

In the resolution, the MEPs called on EU member states to criminalize the conscious use of the sexual services of human-trafficking victims; they also demanded more collaboration in the monitoring and production of reliable data on the phenomenon.

Exploitation of migrant women and children

The members of parliament (MEPs) said the situation for victims of human trafficking had worsened since the start of the pandemic. Resolution co-sponsor Juan Fernando López Aguilar said human trafficking had "increased due to the COVID-19 crisis and online tools that are increasingly used to trap people."

In a press release, the resolution signatories pointed out that "sexual exploitation remains the most prevalent and reported purpose for which people are trafficked in the EU, predominantly affecting women and girls, and perpetrated mostly by men." Migrant or refugee women and children are particularly vulnerable to this type of crime, MEPs said in the statement.

Review anti-trafficking directive

"We are calling on the Commission to review the anti-trafficking directive, so that all member states explicitly criminalize the use of services provided by victims of human trafficking," Aguilar said. "We have to support and help the victims, and ensure an end to the culture of impunity surrounding this transnational crime."

"The trafficking of human beings violates life, physical and mental integrity, sexual freedom and human dignity," said Maria Soraya Rodriguez Ramos, another co-sponsor of the resolution. "The alarming increase in child trafficking particularly hits undocumented migrants."

Protecting migrant victims, LGBTI victims, ...

The resolution also denounces the lack of guidelines for authorities in facing cases of exploitation related to categories of people with specific needs, such as migrants, members of the LGBTI community, people with disabilities and people who belong to discriminated racial groups.


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