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Call for greater determination in tackling human trafficking

“It is high time for Europe to fight human trafficking and smuggling with more determination and much more effectively,” said Liliane Maury Pasquier, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), speaking on the occasion of the World Day against Trafficking in Persons (30 July). She recalled that a report on concerted action on human trafficking was currently being prepared by Vernon Coaker (United Kingdom, SOC).

“Moving people across borders for profit was described at the Davos Forum as one of the fastest-growing and most lucrative forms of organised criminal activity globally. For the year 2016, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime found that a minimum of 2.5 million migrants were smuggled, generating a minimum annual income for smugglers of about 5.5 to 7 billion US-$,” Mr Coaker pointed out.

“The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has recorded 2186 migrant fatalities globally in the first half of 2018, 1443 of whom have perished in the Mediterranean Sea, probably making this year to one of the deadliest. Virtually all of those who lost their lives in the Mediterranean had paid smugglers or had become victims of traffickers. The IOM recorded that smugglers received up to 24 000 euros for bringing an irregular migrant to Europe. Many of those smuggled must pay back these high costs through slave labour, thus qualifying them also as victims of trafficking. Council of Europe experts say that labour exploitation has emerged as the predominant form of trafficking in several European countries,” the rapporteur added.

“National parliaments in Europe must urgently ensure that legislation and law enforcement can stop human trafficking and smuggling, which is an attack on the human dignity of those exposed to such criminal acts, as well as the basic values of the Council of Europe. I urge all Council of Europe member States to fully implement the Council’s Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, as well as the UN Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, and on those few member States that have not yet done so to sign and ratify these instruments,” Mr Coaker concluded.