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Victims of trafficking in human beings [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for victims of trafficking in human beings.

Did you know that 65 % of victims of trafficking in human beings (THB) identified in the EU are EU nationals? And did you know that between 2013 and 2014 nearly 16 000 women, men, girls and boys were registered as victims of trafficking in the EU?

Human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation is the most widespread form of THB in the EU (67 %), its victims being mostly female EU nationals from central and eastern Europe. However, THB also affects male EU nationals, who are predominantly victims of labour exploitation, as well as people belonging to vulnerable groups, forced into criminality, begging and sham marriages.

The EU is very much aware of the problem and has put THB at the centre of its anti-trafficking policy. In 2011, it adopted a law that obliges EU countries to provide help, support and protection and assess victims’ specific needs.

Lady with handcuff on bed, Human trafficking - Concept Photo

© aam460 / Fotolia

If THB has affected you or someone you know, the EU has published a brochure, available in all EU official languages, an overview of trafficking victims’ rights, which range from (emergency) assistance and healthcare to labour rights, access to justice and a lawyer, and compensation.

Between 2004 and 2015, the EU financed 321 anti-trafficking projects in 26 EU countries, for a sum total of €158 million. These focused mainly on labour exploitation, child trafficking and sexual exploitation.

For certain THB victim groups, such as child victims of sexual exploitation and child pornography, the EU has adopted specific legislation that addresses their needs directly.

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