EU nations warned to act as human trafficking worsens

Apr 15, 2013 by Claire Rosemberg

Brussels warned European Union nations Monday to get a move on with adopting tough new rules against human trafficking or face sanctions as a first report on the problem showed "modern-day slavery" worsening across the bloc.

The report signalled an 18 percent increase from 2008 to 2010 in identified and presumed victims of trafficking in the 27-nation EU, with the total at 23,632.

"This is the sad truth," said Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem. "Men, women and children are being sold for sex, hard labour ... forced into marriages, domestic servitude, begging, or have their organs removed for trade."

"What we know is just the tip of the iceberg," she added.

A study by the International Labour Organisation last June estimated that 880,000 people were in forced labour in the EU, a problem expected to worsen as the economy fails to pick up and employers seek ever cheaper labour.

Though the EU report showed fewer thrown behind bars during the same period—with convictions declining 13 percent—most member states had failed to implement a tough new package of rules agreed last year, she said.

Only six of the EU-27 had transposed the EU rules into national legislation despite an April 6, 2013 deadline—, Finland, Latvia, Hungary, Poland, Sweden—with Belgium, Lithuania and Slovenia partially in line.

"It is for member states to stop dragging their feet," Malmstroem said, calling for states to implement "without delay" the Anti-Trafficking Directive.

"I will not hesitate to take the necessary measures to ensure that this is being done," she added.

Europe two years ago agreed to toughen up against the booming trade in human beings, estimated at an annual 2.5 billion euros ($3.3 billion), by broadening the definition of the crime—from sexual exploitation and slave labour, to forced begging and removal of organs—and setting harsher penalties.

Monday's EU report showed seven out of 10 victims to be women, 17 percent men, 12 percent girls and three percent boys.

More than half of the victims—61 percent—were from EU nations, most often Romania and Bulgaria, with Nigeria and China as the most common countries of origin outside Europe.

The majority of the victims were trafficked for sexual exploitation, at 62 percent, with trafficking for forced labour second at 25 percent and trafficking for the removal of organs, for criminal activities or for the selling of children accounting for the remainder.

The new rules set maximum penalties of at least five years behind bars, with 10 for "aggravating circumstances"—if the offence is against a child or with serious violence, or involves a crime ring.

The regulations also enable nations to take judicial action outside its territory in a case where an offence is committed against one of its nationals or residents.

In a 2010 report, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime described as "one of the most lucrative illicit businesses in Europe", estimating gains through and forced labour alone at around 2.5 billion euros per year.

European lawmakers have said the trafficking business is second-only in illegal activity to the weapons trade—more even than drugs—with the risk for people involved "fairly low" until now.

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Lurker2358
4.2 / 5 (5) Apr 15, 2013
The new rules set maximum penalties of at least five years behind bars, with 10 for "aggravating circumstances"—if the offence is against a child or with serious violence, or involves a crime ring.


WTF. Only five years for forced trafficking?

It's repeatedly raping someone, or charging other people to be allowed to rape them, and they're only getting 5 years?!

The pimp should pretty much get 5 or 10 years per customer, per incident. Not 5 years total. Every one of the clients should be charged as a rapist.
ryggesogn2
3.1 / 5 (7) Apr 15, 2013
"European lawmakers have said the trafficking business is second-only in illegal activity to the weapons trade—more even than drugs—with the risk for people involved "fairly low" until now."

Aren't guns, slavery and drugs against the law in most European countries?
bear_dressed_as_a_monkey
1.8 / 5 (5) Apr 15, 2013
WTF. Only five years for forced trafficking?
...only getting 5 years?!


The article doesn't say a maximum of five years. It says the maximum can not be any LESS than five years. No upper limit is specified.
ryggesogn2
3 / 5 (4) Apr 15, 2013
No one questions premise of the movie "Taken": young women tourists kidnapped and sold into prostitution and slavery in France with the French police being paid to look the other way.
Why isn't this considered an implausible scenario?
Europeans are used to the corrupt rule of kings I guess.
roj2003
1 / 5 (2) Apr 16, 2013
Corrupt rule of kings(and occasionally presidents)is usually terminated with extreme prejudice, often around the neck-line, although the necessary bureaucracy can be tediously expensive. For example, 10 years of civil war, guillotine, bishops supporting auto-da-fe, electing Republicans, etc.. :)
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Apr 16, 2013
Aren't guns, slavery and drugs against the law in most European countries?

Laws against all these things exist in all European nations already, but in some nations the sentences aren't particularly severe.
This initiative is 'simply' set up to rectify that situation and get the laws more on an equal footing.
geokstr
2.6 / 5 (5) Apr 16, 2013
And not mentioned in the article, for politically correct reasons no doubt, that adherents of the Religion of Peace are hip deep in slavery of all types, sexual or otherwise. After all, to Islam, all non-believers and unbelievers are pigs and dogs, to be converted, forced to pay tribute or killed.

Yet some still say idiotic things about electing Republicans being the reason for this travesty.
ryggesogn2
3 / 5 (5) Apr 16, 2013
And not mentioned in the article, for politically correct reasons no doubt, that adherents of the Religion of Peace are hip deep in slavery of all types, sexual or otherwise. After all, to Islam, all non-believers and unbelievers are pigs and dogs, to be converted, forced to pay tribute or killed.

Yet some still say idiotic things about electing Republicans being the reason for this travesty.

And there is still significant anti-Jew prejudice. This is first hand from a former German colleague, Udo.
alfie_null
not rated yet Apr 21, 2013
Rather than telling member nations how to fix things, the EU should simply say "If we see these activities in your country, you are out." They should be fostering an environment in which moral values are embraced, not simply engendering a bunch of rule-following bureaucrats.