[Brussels, 17 October 2012] The European Parliament is preparing a report on the strengthening of EU action to tackle organised crime. Speaking in Plenary on Monday, the author of the report and member of the EP’s special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering, Salvatore Iacolino, said that such illegal activities were ’structural and here to stay’. The EWL is pleased to see support for greater action at EU level to deal with organised crime which is increasingly international by nature. For the efforts of both the EU and its Member States to succeed however, the EWL recalls the intrinsic link between organised crime, prostitution and trafficking in human beings. In Europe, trafficking in human beings brings a windfall of 3 billion euros every year to organised crime and sustains and promotes a wide range of further criminal activities. According to Interpol, a pimp in Europe can earn approximately EUR 110 000 per year. Tackling demand for prostitution by criminalising procuring and the purchasing of prostituted persons effectively reduces the interest to operate of criminal organisations in a given area, as the Swedish example shows. On the contrary, countries such as the Netherlands which have decriminalised procuring have seen a huge increase in the presence and reach of organised crime. The EWL therefore hopes that the forthcoming EP report will be looking at all root causes of organized crime and deliver strong and efficient recommendations to fight it.
For further information on the European Parliament report, please see below an article published on 16 October in TheParliament.com:
MEP calls for ’EU-wide approach’ to tackling organised crime
By Martin Banks - 16th October 2012
Italian MEP Salvatore Iacolino has spelt out how the EU plans to clamp down on "Mafia-style" organised crime.
Speaking in parliament on Monday, the EPP deputy told MEPs that such illegal activities were "structural and here to stay".
He said, "Serious crime has diversified and criminals have muscled their way into all kinds of economic activity."
The MEP was detailing a report on the issue he has drafted for parliament’s special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering.
The special committee was set up to look at the spread of cross-border criminal organisations, including mafias.
It was tasked with the job of investigating the misuse of public funds by criminal organisations, their infiltration of the public sector and their "contamination of legal economy and financial system".
The working document prepared by Iacolino sets out some of the ways he believes the EU might address serious crime at an EU-level.
He said, "Organised crime is more widespread that it used to be. It has become more professional and businesslike and has infiltrated legal and economic circuits."
Serious crime, he told the committee, was "large scale" particularly in regions marked by high unemployment and low educational standards.
In calling for an "EU approach" to tackling organised crime, he insisted that this should not be taken as an attempt to "usurp" the role of member states.
There were various ways the EU might address the issue at a pan-European level, he argued, including the confiscation of assets and proceeds from criminal activity.
"These should be put to good use and used, for example, for social purposes," he said.
The deputy also said more could be done to ensure that contracts are not awarded to companies convicted of criminal activities in another member state.
The EU should consider legislation to prevent companies linked to organised crime and mafias from taking part in public procurement procedures.
Full traceability of financial flows linked to public works, services and supply contracts should be guaranteed in all instances, he said.
MEPs advocate setting up a special parliament committee on the spread of cross-border criminal organisations, including mafias. This committee should investigate the misuse of public funds by criminal organisations, their infiltration of the public sector and their "contamination of legal economy and financial system", says the text.
He said, "Currently, there are loopholes here that need to be firmly closed.
"Better use of information technology and improved training for the judiciary were other measures that might be considered.
"We need to be one step ahead of these people and that is why there has to be improved cooperation and collaboration between the judiciary, courts and police," he added.