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Appeal during the European Elections, 2009

Friday 1 May 2009

The Collective took advantage of the elections to the European Parliament on 7 June, 2009, to make the following recommendations to the French candidates. The issue of human trafficking had of course been advanced hugely by French ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings. However, there remains nonetheless a lot to be done at a European level.

COMBATTING TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN BEINGS: A CHALLENGE FOR THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT:

The Collective ‘Together Against Trafficking in Human Beings,’ which brings together 23 NGOs, hereby presents recommendations, which are a question of fundamental human rights, on the protection of victims of trafficking and requests that they be included in your European agenda.

Human trafficking at a European level:
There is, at present, a plethora of European texts, including:

  • The Council of Europe Framework Decision on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings
  • The Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings
  • The European Social Charter
  • Recommendation 1596 on young migrants in Europe
  • The Resolution of the European Parliament on fundamental rights in the EU

At a European level, trafficking in human beings is defined as ‘the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring, subsequent reception of a person, including exchange or transfer of control over that person… [or] for the purpose of the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, including in pornography.’

The increase in this phenomenon in numbers:
The Council of Europe estimates that trafficking affects between 120,000 and 500,000 people in Europe per year. The European Commission puts the number of victims in Western Europe at 120,000 each year.
The Internationl Labour Organisation estimates that there are 1.2 million child victims of trafficking each year, of which 100,000 to 200,000 are in Europe.

Our Requests:

1. That victims enjoy their rights effectively
The rights of victims are enunciated in article 12 of the Council of Europe Convention. They include psychological and material assistance, medical treatment, and access to education for minors.
It is imperative that the enjoyment of these rights by victims is not subject to prerequisites such as testifying against their exploiters. Indeed, victims who testify against traffickers run the risk of reprisals. It is necessary therefore that they receive specific protection.

The Collective recommends that Member States uniformly and effectively enforce victims’ rights in collaboration with civil society.

2. A More effective collaboration between police and justice systems of the Member States
Putting a stop to human trafficking comprises two elements:

  • real sanctions against traffickers; and
  • greater collaboration between national police forces and justice systems. Trafficking in human beings is transnational in that victims are not necessarily exploited in their country of origin. It is for this reason that police cooperation is necessary to identify and protect victims, to dismantle trafficking networks and to suppress traffickers, whether they work alone or are organised.

The Collective therefore recommends that Europol be given greater funding and in order to create greater collaboration between the police and magistrates combatting those responsible for trafficking.

3. Imigration camps at the border of the European Union
The Collective opposes the existence of the camps created by the European Union to restrict immigration because they breach article 5 of the European Convention of Human Rights and Freedoms.

In any event, the Collective calls for the enhancement of victim protection and the adoption of minimum measures to prevent trafficking such as separating adults from unaccompanied minors, and granting access to healthcare, access to education and legal aid.

To the extent that the European Union encouraged economic exchange with border countries that created these camps, the Collective recommends that the EU uses its diplomatic and economic influence over these countries with respect to these demands.

4. Protecting victims in detention centres in Europe
The European Parliament proposes the harmonization of immigration policy in the European Union through a strict ’Immigration Package.’

The Collective calls for the separation of recruiters from potential victims as detention centres are breeding grounds for trafficking. The Collective demands that NGOs defending and protecting victims of trafficking be given access to these detention centres to implement specific management programs for the victims.

5. The Creation of a European Research Centre
The Collective notes that very little data is gathered or analysed concerning the many manifestations of trafficking (domestic servitude, child trafficking, sexual exploitation, trafficking for the organ trade etc).
Hard data is imperative in order to understand, to prevent and to work effectively to combat this phenomenon.

The Collective therefore requests the creation of a European Research Centre, at the disposal of all key players combatting trafficking in order to gather sociological, judicial, psychological, political and economic data.

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