European & International News

MEPs vote overwhelmingly to support measures to shut down trafficking

(Strasbourg, 23 October 2013) An overwhelming vote by MEPs for measures to shut down a €25 billion human trafficking trade must be followed by concrete action at both National and EU level, according to the Immigrant Council of Ireland.

The Council is welcoming the vote of 526 to 25 to support measures including the targeting of those who use trafficking victims for sexual and labour exploitation.

The European Parliament report said 270,000 people a year are being trafficked within the EU for sexual exploitation.

Welcoming the result, Nusha Yonkova, Anti Trafficking Coordinator with the Immigrant Council of Ireland said:

“The European Parliament has given us a blueprint on how a Mafia style criminal network which stretches across the continent can be shut down. The measures have a strong focus on choking off the source of income for the criminal gangs, which we know are active in Ireland.

It is important now that this decision is acted upon. At a national level the Government should take on a key recommendation of the parliament by targeting those whose actions are fuelling trafficking, including the buyers of sex.

Targeting buyers has been the subject of debate in Ireland for over 4-years, culminating with a unanimous recommendation for such laws from the Oireachtas Justice Committee last June.

While MEPs, TDs and Senators have been debating, the pimps and traffickers have expanded their empires by trampling on the rights of vulnerable people. 48 people were identified as trafficked in Ireland during 2012, of which 23 were children – most were sexually exploited.

An estimated €250 million of the €25 billion which the crime lords pocket across the EU comes from Ireland.

As one of the 68 Irish organisations which make up the Turn Off the Red Light Campaign, we again call on the Government to act and turn the recommendations of the European Parliament and the Oireachtas Justice Committee into laws, which will set a new standard internationally.”

Read the European Parliament’s press release.

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