European Parliament combats human trafficking but not in all forms

Yesterday the European Parliament Committee on Women’s rights approved a report on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims from a gender perspective. World Youth Alliance welcomes the approval of this report that proposes some innovative ways of protecting victims from human trafficking but we are also disappointed that the Committee has decided not to recognize some victims of trafficking in human beings.

IMG_5102The Committee on Women’s Rights rejected a proposed amendment to recognize as victims women harmed through “forced marriage, coerced adoption, prostitution, surrogacy and female genital mutilation.”[1] World Youth Alliance is disappointed, as we expect them to stand strongly for the human dignity of all women victims of human trafficking, but not all the victims had the political support to be recognized as such.

Amendments to include surrogacy and other kinds of reproductive exploitation as new practices of human trafficking have been rejected to avoid political controversies between countries that have different legislation related to surrogacy. Debates inside the political groups has been avoided as some members of the European Parliament, well-known for their clear opposition to this kind of reproductive exploitation, were excluded from the key positions.

Nevertheless, this report encourages some innovative strategies like those following the success of the Nordic model to fight human trafficking for sexual exploitation. As it is already successfully practiced in Sweden and Norway, the Committee has proposed ‘demand reduction strategies’ in cases of sexual exploitation “through legislation that shifts the criminal burden onto those who purchase sexual services of trafficked persons.”[2]

Despite the exclusion of surrogacy, World Youth Alliance welcomes this report and hopes that the European Commission will implement rapidly the recommendations inside it. We also encourage the committee on Women Rights to stand for all the victims of human trafficking without any exclusion in the future reports.

Written by Antoine Mellado, WYA European Regional Director for Advocacy.

[1] Amendment 58 by Marijana Petir, Davor Ivo Stier, Miroslav Mikolášik, Anna Záborská, Alojz Peterle

[2] Article 22; report on Implementation of the Directive 2011/36/EU of 5 April 2011 on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims from a gender perspective (2015/2118(INI)); Catherine Bearder