EU Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos has called for the EU to step up its efforts in the fight against human trafficking, which sees women and children as the majority of victims.
Avramopoulos who is the current EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship said it was time ‘’to step up our efforts and continue delivering more intensively and in a more focused way. To this end, the support and contribution of this House is of outmost importance. The migration crisis and transnational security threats render people more vulnerable to criminal networks and exploitation."
Avramopoulos proposed the following initiatives in the fight against human trafficking:
- to target the organised criminal networks and follow the money throughout the trafficking chain
- to focus more on the prevention, better identification and protection of victims
- to further strengthen the coordination at EU level
- to ensure more coherence in the external and internal dimensions of our anti-trafficking policy.
"Criminal networks target and exploit the most vulnerable ones: recent data indicate that the vast majority of victims are female and children. The most widespread form of exploitation is sexual exploitation with mainly women and young girls as victims.
"That is why, the anti-trafficking Directive has a strong gender-specific dimension, and that is why we have also commissioned a study on the Gender Dimensions of Trafficking in Human Beings.
"It is also of major importance to increase our cooperation with third countries and further streamline our anti-trafficking priorities in the external dimension of our policies," Avramopoulos stressed.
Speaking at the parliament plenary, Avramopoulos said the European Parliament has been a strong and consistent supporter in dealing with the odious and appalling crime of trafficking, a crime that takes advantage of vulnerability and exploits the desperation of people in need of protection and support.
"We have developed a coherent and coordinated, legal and policy framework to address trafficking in human beings. The Anti-trafficking Directive and the 2012-2016 EU Strategy has been our main instruments to develop, coordinate and implement our policy framework priorities. Having delivered on the vast majority of actions envisaged in the Strategy, we don't feel that our job is done: quite the opposite. We cannot accept that, irrespectively of origin, there are still, and unfortunately more, children, women, vulnerable people trafficked, abused and exploited. These are victims of the immoral and inhuman profit-making face of our societies."