Human trafficking is a global industry with huge profits for those involved. It is an invisible profit-seeking crime where victims – men, women and children – are treated as commodities. Criminalizing the use of services by victims of trafficking remains an unresolved issue for the EU, while sexual exploitation remains the most widespread form of human trafficking. The European Parliament resolution of 10 February 2021 on the implementation of Directive 2011/36 / EU on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and the protection of its victims highlights the scale of the problem and the large-scale trade in human trafficking. people. Children represent a significant number of victims of trafficking, given that 78% of all child victims of trafficking are girls and 68% of all adult victims are women.
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Gender inequality, poverty, forced displacement, unemployment, lack of socio-economic opportunities, lack of access to education, gender-based violence, discrimination and marginalization, and corruption are some of the factors that make individuals, especially women and children, vulnerable to human trafficking. Trafficking in human beings is primarily a serious crime against individuals, but it also has costs for society. Such as the increased use of public services, including law enforcement, specialized services, health and social services, the loss of economic output, the value of degrading quality of life, and the coordination of anti-trafficking prevention work people. This cost is estimated at € 3,700,524,433 for the EU-28.
Pandemic increases marketing
The European Parliament takes into account that trafficking in human beings is a gender-specific phenomenon and that almost three quarters of all victims in 2017 and 2018 in the EU were women and girls, who were trafficked primarily for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The number of victims of human trafficking has increased in the last period of the Commission's study (2017 and 2018) compared to the previous one and continues to increase given that the actual number of victims is probably significantly higher than the reported figures, as many victims not detected. Europol has warned that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to a further increase in the number of victims and a reduction in the likelihood of locating traffickers. Also, an economic downturn in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis could also have dangerous consequences for human trafficking.
Drug trafficking, cybercrime and human trafficking are considered to be the most prevalent forms of organized crime with heavy criminal activity both internationally and in Cyprus, according to the annual report of the Police.
Also in the Commission report entitled “Data collection on trafficking in human beings in the EU” the number of registered victims is proportional to the size of the population in the country of registration. For example, 100 victims is a larger percentage of the total population in a country with a small population than in a country with a large population. The number of registered victims of human trafficking is estimated for every one million inhabitants. In the EU-28, in the period 2017-2018, there were an average of 26 registered victims per one million inhabitants (24 in 2017, 27 in 2018). The total EU-27 average was 14 registered victims per million inhabitants (14 in 2017, 13 in 2018).
By analogy, the top five EU-28 Member States for 2017-2018 are Cyprus (168), the United Kingdom (91), Hungary (48), the Netherlands (47) and Austria (44). . Taking into account the proportional numbers in the EU-27, Malta has the fifth highest number of casualties per million inhabitants (42). In the EU-28, the main forms of exploitation of victims of trafficking in EU citizenship in 2017-2018 were sexual (53%), followed by forced labor (18%) and others (25%). Victims of trafficking outside the EU registered in the EU in 2017-2018 were trafficked mainly for sexual exploitation (41%), forced labor (24%) and others (24%).
In the EU-28 for the period 2015-2016, the main forms of exploitation for EU citizens were sexual (57%), work (31%) and others (11%). For non-EU citizens, they were sexual (51%), working (32%) and others (17%). More than two thirds (68%) of victims of EU citizenship and 55% of victims of non-EU citizenship are trafficked for sexual exploitation in the EU.
The five EU nationals with the highest percentage of victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation were Malta (100%), Slovenia (100%), Hungary (92%), Austria (82%) and Estonia (80%). For labor exploitation by nationality were Poland (67%), Latvia (62%), Portugal (61%), Cyprus (50%) and Lithuania (45%). The rate of prosecutions for sexual trafficking varied considerably between Member States. The vast majority of prosecutions for human trafficking for this form of exploitation took place in Greece (84%), Bulgaria (76%), France (62%), the Netherlands (59%) and Cyprus (58%). Sweden (24%), Lithuania (23%), Estonia (19%) and Croatia (9%) had the lowest proportions of people prosecuted for trafficking.
In most Member States (21), the majority of people convicted of human trafficking in 2017-2018 were men. In two Member States (Cyprus and Croatia) the proportion of men to women convicted was equal. In two other Member States (Latvia and Denmark), more women than men were convicted.
Work holding and children
The European Parliament notes that several Member States and civil society organizations report an increase in human trafficking for labor exploitation. He regrets the fact that children are also increasingly being trafficked for labor exploitation. Calls for urgent action by international labor inspectorates in the Member States to identify and end these practices. It further calls on the European Labor Authority to address the issue of serious labor exploitation as a matter of priority and to support Member States through capacity building in this area in order to better identify and sanction serious labor exploitation practices through targeted inspections. Stresses the importance of considering the exploitation of labor exploitation in training programs for employees working with victims, in order to strengthen the timely identification of victims of trafficking in forced labor. Calls on the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, to look at how the demand for cheap labor promotes trafficking in human beings for labor exploitation. It calls on the authorities of the Member States to step up their efforts to eliminate all forms of informal and non-regulated work, thus ensuring employment rights for all workers. He points out that the precarious employment status of these workers makes them dependent on their employers and allows traffickers to exploit their victims.