EWL News

Post-2016 EU Strategy on human trafficking must put gender equality and dignity at its core

[Brussels, 8 June 2016] Ahead of the 7th meeting of the EU Civil Society Platform on trafficking in human beings, the European Women’s Lobby coordinated a joint contribution to the European Commission, to inform on the consultation on the post-2016 EU Strategy on trafficking in human beings. 36 organisations co-signed this contribution, which will inform the discussions during the Platform’s meeting and will guide the EWL and its members’ work for the next 5 years

As members of the EU Civil Society Platform against Trafficking in Human Beings, we welcome the consultation process launched by the European Commission to gather civil society’s feedback on the top priorities that need to be addressed in the new EU Strategy on trafficking, and on the specific actions that should be further developed according to the current Strategy 2012-2016.

Our organisations and networks include organisations advocating for women’s human rights and gender equality, frontline organisations supporting mainly women and girl victims of sex trafficking and prostitution, and human rights groups promoting the empowerment of migrant women and young women.

Our organisations are part of and support the Brussels’ Call ‘Together for a Europe free from prostitution’. We campaign to raise awareness on the reality of prostitution and sex trafficking and to contribute to the achievement of abolitionist policies on prostitution in order to combat sex trafficking and to realise women’s and girls’ human rights.

Our main focus is on trafficking for sexual exploitation, which is the most prominent form of trafficking in the EU. The overwhelming majority of victims of sex trafficking are women and girls. We strongly believe that strong EU action focusing on sex trafficking would substantially contribute to ending this pervasive violation of human rights and would send a clear message that human beings are not for sale.

We commend the work of the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator since taking up her post in 2011. Under her leadership, over the last 5 years, the EU has delivered strong messages with regards to the reality of sex trafficking, its highly gendered nature, and the links between sex trafficking and prostitution.

Despite these developments, we see no substantial progress towards the elimination of the pervasive phenomenon of trafficking in human beings and no real determination, from the EU and its member states, for change. This is why we call on the European Commission to focus its work, in the framework of its new anti-trafficking Strategy, on the following three aspects:

  • fostering a real end to the demand that drives sex trafficking and prostitution;
  • pushing for the adoption of codes of conduct preventing the purchase of sex by EU officials and promoting the adoption of such codes of conduct by the European Business Coalition against trafficking in human beings;
  • and supporting the development of sustainable alternatives and exit programmes for victims of sex trafficking and persons wishing to exit prostitution, everywhere in the EU.

Moreover, we urge for the following actions, included in the current Strategy, to be further developed and strengthened:

  • developing effective prevention campaigns and actions in partnership with civil society organisations;
  • strengthening funding opportunities for civil society organisations assisting victims of sex trafficking and those involved in prostitution;
  • ensuring the exchange of good practices at the meetings of the EU Civil Society Platform against trafficking in human beings.

To bring concrete change and ensure that no one in the EU is left behind, the European Commission must adopt and implement an EU Strategy on trafficking which puts equality between women and men, dignity and solidarity at its core.

Here are our proposals to make it happen.


• European Women’s Lobby
• Equality Now
• CAP International
• European Network of Migrant Women
• Coalition against Trafficking in Women
• Herzwerk, Austria
• Conseil des Femmes Francophones de Belgique, Belgium
• Nederlandstalige Vrouwenraad, Belgium
• Centre for Women War Victims- ROSA, Croatia
• PETRA Network for Prevention and Elimination of Trafficking in Women, Croatia
• Women’s Network of Croatia
• Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies (MIGS), Cyprus
• 8. marts-initiativet (March 8 Initiative), Denmark
• Coalition of Finnish Women´s Associations NYTKIS, Finland
• Coordination française pour le Lobby européen des femmes, France
• Fondation Scelles, France
• L’Amicale du Nid, France
• Mouvement du Nid, France
• Ligue du Droit International des Femmes, France
• Solwodi, Germany
• Kofra München, Germany
• Abolition 2014, Germany
• Initiative Stop Sexkauf, Germany
• Maisha African Women, Germany
• Hungarian Women’s Lobby (Magyar Női Érdekérvényesítő Szövetség), Hungary
• Immigrant Council of Ireland
• Doras Luimní, Ireland
• Ruhama, Ireland
• MARTA Resource Centre for Women, Latvia
• Klaipeda Social and Psychological Services Center, Lithuania
• Caritas Lithuania
• Network of East-West Women, Poland
• Médicos del Mundo Spain
• Comisión para la Investigación de Malos Tratos a Mujeres, Spain
• Swedish Women’s Lobby, Sweden
• Unizon, Sweden
• RealStars, Sweden

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