Human trafficking: Churches call on the EU for action on a wider front

Press Release No. 14/38
27 November 2014

The following is a joint press release with COMECE. 

An estimated 800,000 women, men, and children are victims of human trafficking within the EU today. Up to 60% of the victims originate from EU states. The EU and its member states urgently need to implement the legal framework already in place and to intensify cooperation with civil society and church organisations that work with victims at the grassroots level. This was one of the main messages of the Dialogue Seminar organised by COMECE and the Church and Society Commission of CEC in cooperation with CCME in dialogue with the EU Commission on 27 November.

Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery, a criminal activity, and a lucrative global enterprise.  An estimated 16% of victims are children, and they can be sold for up to 40.000 EUR . In addition to sexual exploitation, forced labour and domestic workers, human trafficking is also taking new forms such as for reproductive purposes, including surrogacy and illegal adoption.

Dialogue participants repeatedly called for more reliable and comprehensive data, including accurate estimated figures to better inform policy and faith-based responses. They also brought extensive advocacy and policy experience to the dialogue, and heard direct accounts about human trafficking in Europe.

Victims of human trafficking need more protection and assistance through the broader implementation of existing legislation. Victims of human trafficking should not be punished for acts committed while being trafficked. Ongoing financial support of civil society and church organisations will contribute to achieving these aims.

In the legal field, the EU has already adopted a series of directives and instruments. However, these instruments need updating to cover new forms of trafficking and to assure further implementation at the national level.

In response to the complexity and seriousness of these issues, COMECE and CEC/CCME intend to provide the EU Commission a compilation of their proposals and recommendations to fight human trafficking in the coming weeks.

COMECE is the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community.It is made up of Bishops delegated by the 27 Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union and it has a permanent Secretariat in Brussels.

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