Logo Assembly Logo Hemicycle

European Anti-trafficking Day: ‘our legal obligation to prevent exploitation or abuse’

Migrants migration refugees

Theodoros Rousopoulos (Greece, EPP/CD), Chair of the PACE Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, has made the following statement to mark European Anti-trafficking Day (18 October 2022):

“Armed conflicts, climate change, economic recession and food insecurity have multiplied the global numbers of people on the move. This year, after two years of travel restrictions due to Covid-19, Europe has witnessed a significant increase in numbers of arrivals at its borders, mostly via the Mediterranean Sea and further on within Europe.

Many of those reaching Council of Europe member states in small boats, in lorries or by foot using smuggling routes are deceived and exploited by human traffickers. Victims of financial, physical and mental abuse along their migration route, they also risk their lives, as many perish, too often unnoticed.

European Anti-Trafficking Day is a reminder that governments, parliaments and courts throughout Europe must do more to combat this modern form of slave trade by human traffickers.

Under the European Convention on Human Rights, member states have the legal obligation to protect human life and to help those who need international protection. In accordance with the European Social Charter, labour migration must be a safe pathway through work visas and social protection, and must not lead to severe labour exploitation of thousands of undocumented migrant workers in Europe.

The reports of the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) can be vital for those who are exploited and abused. The Council of Europe and the European Union should join forces to effectively reach all victims of human trafficking on our continent.”