The Council of Europe should “do more to combat human trafficking and to ensure that its legal standards are adequate and implemented by all member States”, the Committee on Migration said at its meeting on 2 December, which is the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.
In an adopted draft resolution, based on the report prepared by Vernon Coaker (United Kingdom, SOC), the Committee noted with deep concern the high numbers of victims of human trafficking in Europe, “of which the largest proportion concerns the exploitation of the prostitution of others, forced labour and organ trafficking as well as trafficking for the purpose of forced marriage and illegal adoption”. More than ever over the past few years, “Europe has been a major destination for migrants who are prime targets for such exploitation by human traffickers and smugglers”, the text underlines.
Preventing trafficking and providing protection to victims “must be of highest priority”, the parliamentarians said. For this purpose, member States should in particular ensure that victims of human trafficking are not penalised, that they receive adequate health services and legal assistance, and that witness protection programmes exist for their testimony against human traffickers.
There does not seem to be a shortage of expert analyses, the adopted text underlines, but “instead a lack of willingness to make a change and to revise culturally engrained perceptions which are conducive to human trafficking. Parliamentarians are in a privileged position to support such changes in policies, legislation and action”.