On June 19, 2012 the European Commission, located in Brussels, adopted a new EU strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings. The strategy outline, available here, describes practical measures to address trafficking in persons. These will be implemented over the next five years throughout the European Union.
This strategy contains 40 new measures to combat human trafficking and includes points on prevention, protection, and the support of victims of trafficking, as well as the prosecution of human traffickers. The commission will assess the progress made and will release a report to the European Parliament every two years. The first report is due to be issued in 2014 and will include a midterm evaluation of the strategy.
In the Commission’s press release, recent estimates from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) place the number of victims of modern slavery and forced labour at 20.9 million worldwide. The Commission also highlights that while many victims are coming from non-EU countries, it appears that the number of those trafficked internally within the EU is on the rise.
Not For Sale’s European staff is working on the ground in Romania and the Netherlands to document and track the trends of trafficking within both Eastern and Western Europe. Since 2011 Not For Sale Romania has been providing services of shelter, education, healthcare, extensive counseling, and vocational training to survivors who have been trafficking for the purpose of forced labour, prostitution, and even illegal adoption. Those assisted have come from as far away as the Middle East and North Africa, or have been as local as the city where NFS Romania operates.
In the Netherlands, Not For Sale is currently providing skills training to four women, who are from Africa, Eurasia, and Eastern Europe. All four have been victims of sex trafficking, and are in the early stages of rebuilding their lives. In Amsterdam, Not For Sale delivers nutritious meals to women working in prostitution in an attempt to better understand the situation of those whom are often most vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation.
The expertise of Toos Heemskerk, NFS Netherlands Director was recently recognized when she was invited to partake in a Euronews debate alongside the EU’s anti-trafficking coordinator, Myria Vassiliadou. Their discussion centered around what sex trafficking looks like within the EU, where victims are coming from, and how the European Union’s Member States are responding to human trafficking. This new strategy from the EU Commission will assist in accountability for EU Member States to implement better strategies to address the human rights abuse of trafficking in human beings.
Click Here to watch the debate with Toos Heemskerk on Euronews.