[Brussels, 29 May 2013] The EU Civil Society Platform on trafficking in human beings will hold its first meeting on 31 May 2013 in Brussels. The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) and its participating members warmly welcome the initiative of the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator to involve civil society organisations in a constructive dialogue with the European Commission (EC), in the framework of the EU Strategy on trafficking. In particular, they see their inclusion in the Platform’s work as a strong political sign that the European Commission acknowledges the urgent need to address the gendered nature of trafficking and the root causes of trafficking in women and girls, namely gender inequalities.
Trafficking in women and girls is directly linked to systems of prostitution globally and all over Europe. New data unveiled by the European Commission on 15 April 2013 support this analysis: the majority of the identified and presumed victims are trafficked for sexual exploitation, that is prostitution (62%); women and girls account for 80% of identified and presumed victims. In addition, 84% of suspected traffickers traffic human beings for sexual exploitation. In its answer to parliamentary question E-008411-12 of Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Inês Zuber, the European Commission said that it “acknowledges the interplay between prostitution and trafficking in human beings”.
The European Commission recognizes that trafficking in women and girls is a form of violence against women, and therefore an obstacle to equality between women and men. In its Strategy for Equality between women and men (2010-2015), the European Commission states that “Inequalities between women and men violate fundamental rights” and that “The Union is bound to strive for equality between women and men in all its activities”. The EWL and its members therefore expect from the European Commission to work with participants of the Platform on the ways to end sexual exploitation and prostitution, which are fueling trafficking in women and girls in and to Europe.
In this perspective, one key role of the EU Civil Society Platform should be to address the reality of prostitution and its impact on equality between women and men, in order to contribute to the fight against trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The EWL and its members will actively propose to develop concrete measures to stop the demand for prostitution and to strengthen mechanisms to protect women and girls victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking. They also look forward to ways for the Platform to involve EU Member States in a European-wide discussion on the links between trafficking in women and girls and systems of prostitution in Europe.
- European Women’s Lobby
- African Women’s Organisation, Austria
- Conseil des Femmes Francophones de Belgique, Belgium
- Nederlandstalige Vrouwenraad, Belgium
- Demetra Association, Bulgaria
- Centre for Women War Victims – ROSA, Croatia
- Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies, Cyprus
- Coordination Française pour le Lobby européen des femmes, France
- Maisha e.V. -African Women, Germany
- MONA Foundation for the Women of Hungary, Hungary
- Hungarian Women’s Lobby, Hungary
- Immigrant Council of Ireland, Ireland
- Ruhama, Ireland
- Femmes en détresse, Luxembourg
- The Polish Women’s Lobby, Poland
- Swedish Women’s Lobby, Sweden
- Swedish Association of Women’s Shelters and Young Women’s Empowerment Centres, SKR, Sweden
European Women’s Lobby contact:
- Pierrette Pape, EWL Policy Officer and Project Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org - +32 (0)486 39 17 17
- Anna Bates, EWL Media and Communication Officer, email@example.com - +32 (0)2 210 04 40
EWL representative during the meeting of 31 May 2013:
- Stephanie Thögersen, Swedish Women’s Lobby, firstname.lastname@example.org - +46 (0)73 555 08 30