EESC opinion: Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings

Key points

  • The Committee welcomes the strategy towards the eradication of trafficking in human beings, to which it would like to contribute, whilst emphasising that the term eradication seems unrealistic in view of the current scale of the phenomenon, the climate of relative tolerance surrounding it and the inadequate resources devoted to tackling it.
  • The Committee stresses that this strategy cannot be applied without active support from civil society, which has direct contact with the victims. Victim support associations need financial resources in order to carry out their work effectively.
  • The Committee proposes that a distinction be drawn between trafficking for sexual exploitation and the other forms of trafficking (forced labour, begging, fictive marriages and organ trafficking), so that it is clear to all what needs to be addressed. It also proposes the introduction of a label for cities hostile to sexual exploitation of women and children.
  • Likewise, the Committee would like to see a differentiated approach adopted for children (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child).
  • The Committee urges that victims be given sufficient protection to enable them to reintegrate into the legal sphere of the society from which they were excluded (i.e. that they be afforded protection when they report an offence, together with access to housing, healthcare and other services, etc.). In order to be sustainable, this integration should give victims the chance to find work in an inclusive labour market supported by public funding.
  • The fight against trafficking must be a cross-cutting policy, including a genuine social policy strand as well as anti-trafficking measures.  Synergies must be created with other strategies, particularly on Roma integration and combating poverty, drug addiction and the sexual abuse of children, etc.