News Flash

The Red Cross warns against the violence of Croatian border guards against migrants

The Red Cross warns against the violence of Croatian border guards against migrants trying to enter the country from neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina, AP reports.

The International Federation of ...


Germans unimpressed with Merkel's rebellious anti-migrant minister Seehofer, poll shows

Angela Merkel’s rebellious interior minister has failed to impress Germans with his hardline stance on migration, according to new polling likely to reinforce the chancellor’s position.  

A ...


‘New Balkan Route’ for Migrants, Refugees Causes Alarm

A growing number of migrants and refugees using the new Balkan route through Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia to reach the EU raising concerns of a humanitarian and security crisis. Security and human ...


Cop accused of sex crimes against human trafficking victims

Officer was investigating an Eastern European gang that brought women to Israel for prostitution; is suspended from force

A police officer was arrested Wednesday after he was found to have had ...


Italian parents under house arrest for forcing 9-year-old into prostitution

The parents of a nine-year-old girl have been placed under house arrest for forcing their daughter into prostitution, police in the southern Italian region of Sicily said on Monday.

Two men aged 63 ...


Let Europe face up to human trafficking in 2018

Europe’s reception of children seeking refuge is particularly shameful

Last year came to an end with horrific images of slave labour markets in Libya, and a further UN Security Council resolution ...


Big hit against sexual exploitation: criminal group dismantled in Spain and Romania

Spanish National Police and the Romanian Police have joined forces, supported by Europol and Eurojust, to dismantle an organised crime group involved in trafficking women for sexual exploitation in ...


European Resource Center

Europe gang arrests for 'forcing children to steal'

Dutch and Spanish police have arrested a man and woman suspected of being leaders of a Spanish gang exploiting Roma children.

Four criminal networks are thought to be making some 300 children beg and steal across Europe, on the streets of the Netherlands, on Barcelona’s metro service and suburban area, and in Austria, Bosnia and Croatia.

According to the Dutch public broadcaster, NOS, children are thought to have been stealing €1,000 a day, used by criminal families for expensive cars, houses and gambling.

The Dutch public prosecution service announced on Wednesday that a 46-year-old woman and 49-year-old man were arrested in Barcelona in an early-morning raid, suspected of involvement.

The pair will be extradited to the Netherlands, where they will face charges.

During the arrests on 15 June, conducted with the Catalan Mossos d’Esquadra force, police also discovered six children from 1 to 15, thought to be victims of human trafficking.

Four of the children and the baby – which Catalan police reported was the child of one of the girls – have been taken back to the Netherlands, with the help of The Salvation Army and the Nidos refugee child protection organisation.

Arthur de Rijk, police team leader, told NOS that the investigation began mid-2015, when police repeatedly caught the same child pickpockets at Amsterdam Centraal train station.

Read more: Europe gang arrests for 'forcing children to steal'

Trafficking fear as record numbers of migrant children arrive alone

Record numbers of migrant children are arriving on their own to Europe and elsewhere, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation by traffickers, it has been claimed.

Nearly 100,000 unaccompanied youngsters put in asylum requests across the globe last year, treble the number in 2014 and the highest since records began in 2006, says the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR).

Campaigners say at least 10,000 of them have gone missing in Europe alone, prompting fears they have been used as slaves or sexually-exploited.

Missing Children Europe (MCE) says a growing number of children are living in the shadows of society and that EU countries must do more to address the problem.

Read more: Trafficking fear as record numbers of migrant children arrive alone

Europol coordinates EU-wide hit on human trafficking for labour exploitation

During the span of the action week, 6,709 individuals were controlled, alongside 4,156 vehicles and 2,271 companies

Europol supported an EU-wide operation carried out by labour inspectorates and law enforcement authorities targeting organised crime groups trafficking vulnerable people for the purpose of labour exploitation.

During the operational activities taking place between 28 May and 5 June, two crime areas - trafficking in human beings and facilitated illegal migration - were targeted with actions carried out in dozens of key geographical hotspots (airports, border crossing points, etc.) where the likelihood of identifying potential victims of trafficking as well as human traffickers and smugglers was higher.

During the span of the action week, 6,709 individuals were controlled, alongside 4,156 vehicles and 2,271 companies. As a result of these checks, 41 suspects were arrested for labour exploitation and 275 victims identified and safeguarded. Data gathered during the operation has led to the launch of 23 new investigations in order to identify further suspects and victims linked to human trafficking cases across the EU.

Law enforcement authorities, immigration services and labour services from 21 countries joined forces for this operation. This was the first time that labour inspectors across the EU cooperated so closely with law enforcement authorities in a coordinated way to identify, safeguard and protect victims of labour exploitation.

The operational activities targeted different sectors such as transportation, agriculture, construction, textile, food and catering industry as well as commercial activities. The competent authorities looked not only into key industries where victims are being exploited or are at great risk, but also into recruitment websites that may be being used to advertise jobs that result in victims being exploited and into suspect businesses operating across the borders.

Moreover, controls took place at border crossing points in countries of origin, transit and destination.

The exchange of labour inspectors between countries of origin and destination and the deployment of Member States delegates to the coordination centre set up at Europol's headquarters during the action week have significantly contributed to the success of the actions linked to trafficking in human beings.


Soaring number of girls are being forced to sell sex by gangs taking advantage of the chaos caused by the migrant crisis

ABUJA/DAKAR, May 31 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A promising student who dreamed of going to university, Mary was 16 when a woman approached her mother at their home and offered to take the Nigerian teenager to Italy to find work.

Pushed to go by her family who hoped she would lift them out of poverty, Mary ended up being trafficked into prostitution.

Her voice faltering, Mary described three years of being forced to sell her body, beatings, threats at gunpoint and being made to watch as a 14-year-old virgin was raped with a carrot before being sent on to the streets of Turin in northwest Italy.

After being arrested by Italian police, Mary was repatriated to Nigeria's southern Edo state in 2001, but she was rejected by her family and left feeling like a failure.

"I returned with nothing," Mary, now 35, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation from Benin city in Edo. "I hated myself."

While Mary's ordeal ended 15 years ago, a soaring number of Nigerian girls like her are being trafficked to Europe - mainly Italy - and forced to sell sex by gangs taking advantage of the chaos caused by the migrant crisis, anti-slavery activists say.

Thousands of women and girls are lured to Europe each year with the promise of work, then trapped by huge debts and bound to their traffickers by a religious ritual - the curse of juju.

"The victims are getting younger as girls, mainly those in rural areas, are more likely to focus on the positive stories of those who made it to Europe and didn't end up in prostitution," said Katharine Bryant of the Walk Free Foundation rights group.

She spoke ahead of the launch of the third Global Slavery Index, which found Nigeria has the world's eighth highest number of slaves - 875,500 - and is a key source country for women trafficked to Europe and sold into sex work.

Read more: Soaring number of girls are being forced to sell sex by gangs taking advantage of the chaos...

Child trafficking in EU on the rise

The EU is grappling with a spike in children trafficked for sex and other forms of slavery, according to experts.

"We have children being sold, we have women who are trafficked because they are pregnant in order for someone to buy their baby and sell it to the illegal market," Myria Vassiliadou, the European anti-trafficking coordinator, told reporters in Brussels on Thursday (19 May).

A small child is worth anywhere between €4,000 to €8,000 but in some cases up to €40,000.

Many are forced into sexual abuse, begging or delinquency with some taken away from impoverished families by criminal gangs as a form of debt relief.

Denmark, Lithuania, Sweden, and Slovakia have all reported an increase in children forced into committing crimes.

Around 2,375 children were registered as victims of human trafficking in the EU in 2013 to 2014 but the figures are likely much higher. The overall number, including adults, is 15,846.

Around two-thirds of all the registered victims are EU citizens. Most come from Bulgaria, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, and Romania. Others are brought in from Albania, China, Morocco, Nigeria, and Vietnam.

"Some people say it is the tip of the iceberg," noted Vassiliadou.

Fears are also mounting that children arriving in the EU seeking asylum may end up being trafficked. The EU commission cites research that suggests around 60 percent of all unaccompanied minors have gone missing from member state reception centres.

The EU police agency Europol earlier this year estimated at least 10,000 migrant children are missing.

Read more: Child trafficking in EU on the rise

At Crime Commission, UN official urges stepped-up responses to curb human trafficking

25 May 2016 – Despite all of the positive effects of migration, the unprecedented flow of people is generating new criminal opportunities, the head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said today at a high-level event on the recently launched UN-European Union initiative aimed at curbing human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

“At-risk migrants, especially children, have become easy targets for abuse and exploitation, and clearly more needs to be done to reduce vulnerabilities, enhance protection and stop the criminals,” said UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov.

Read more: At Crime Commission, UN official urges stepped-up responses to curb human trafficking

EU Publishes First Report on Human Trafficking: Children Most Vulnerable Group

The European Union on Monday (23 May) published its first report on the fight against human trafficking. The report presents trends and challenges in addressing human trafficking, assesses the progress made and pinpoints key areas that the EU and its Member States should focus on. Despite the progress made, there is still more that needs to be done. Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs, and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said that “it is morally and legally unacceptable and inexcusable that in the EU of the 21st century, there are human beings who are bought, sold and exploited like commodities.“ He added that it was EU‘s “personal, collective and legal duty to stop this”.

According to the report, in 2013-1014, almost 16,000 people – women, men, girls and boys – were registered as victims of human trafficking in the EU. However, the actual number is believed to be much higher due to the complexity of reporting on the victims of human trafficking. The report says that the most widespread motive for human trafficking was sexual exploitation (about 67 percent of registered victims) followed by labor exploitation (21 percent registered victims). While 75 percent of all victims were women, 15 percent were children but the number of children falling victim to human trafficking is rising, which is one the most worrying developments. Other vulnerable groups include victims of Roma ethnic background and victims with disabilities.

The report also analyzes human trafficking in connection with other forms of crime and the exploitation of the popular resentments and insecurities, such as the current migration crisis. Human trafficking constitutes a gross violation of human rights and it is explicitly prohibited under the EU’s the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.


Human traffickers exploit EU migrant crisis to increase child smuggling – EU report

Organized crime is taking advantage of the European migrant crisis to ramp up human trafficking, with an increasing number of children forced into slavery, a fresh EU report warned.

In 2013-2014, 15,846 people, including 2,500 children, were registered as victims of human trafficking in the European Union, according to combined data from EU governments and Europol, the European Commission said in the paper.

However, EU Migration and Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos stressed that the actual numbers are probably much higher because many victims may be afraid or unable to contact the authorities.

“It’s morally and legally unacceptable that in today’s Europe there are women, men, boys and girls who are bought, sold and exploited like commodities. It’s our personal, collective and legal duty to put an end to this,” Avramopoulos said as he presented the Report on progress made in the fight against trafficking in human beings in Brussels.

The phenomenon of human trafficking, especially of children, “has been exacerbated by the ongoing migration crisis,” the report states.

Over half of those trafficked were young women who were brought to the European Union for sexual exploitation, the paper said.

They are deceived into making the journey by the promise of a better job or marriage in Europe, and then turned into slaves.

Most of the females came from nations within the EU such as Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, and the Netherlands.

There were also victims from countries outside the block, including Albania, Nigeria, China, Vietnam, and Morocco.

The rest of those subject to human trafficking are forced into involuntary labor, mainly in agriculture or domestic servitude.

Many were also forced to beg or steal, had their organs harvested, or their children sold for illegal adoptions, the report said.

“Child trafficking is increasing very sharply, with 2500 registered victims. This is a very worrying trend, particularly with the migration wave, we’ve seen an increase of victims arriving from Libya,” Myria Vassiliadou, the EU’s anti-trafficking coordinator, stressed.

Europol had warned earlier that the whereabouts of at least 10,000 children and underage migrants who arrived in the EU unaccompanied in 2014-2015 are currently unknown to authorities, adding that there is a high probability that they have fallen victim to traffickers.

“Organized crime groups choose to traffic children as they are easy to recruit and quick to replace, they can also keep under their control child victims relatively cheaply and discreetly,” the report said.

Trafficked children range in age from six months to 10 years and are sold for sums between €4,000 and €8,000.

According to Europol, the migrant smuggling business brought criminals between $5 and $6 billion in 2015.

While presenting the report, EU officials also urged national governments to put extra effort into breaking up human trafficking rings and attracted attention to “worryingly low convictions” for human traffickers within the block.


Human trafficking: MEPs call on EU member states to protect victims better

EU member states should do more to protect victims of human trafficking, especially women, and take gender-specific prevention, assistance and support measures to help them, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Thursday. The text points out that EU legislation to protect victims of trafficking is not being properly enforced.

"Progress has been made in the fight against international trafficking gangs, but all too often victims are not being given the help they are entitled to under EU law, said rapporteur Catherine Bearder (ALDE, UK)."EU-wide measures to tackle this vile trade must be fully implemented by national governments, including the proper collection of statistics and identification of victims to give us a clearer view of the real picture", she added.

The resolution, approved by 391 votes to 43, with 53 abstentions, underlines that the European Commission has failed to keep to the timetable of assessment reporting required by the directive.

Women and children are especially vulnerable to trafficking

According to Europol, about 10,000 unaccompanied children have disappeared since arriving in the EU in 2015. Children should be registered upon their arrival and included in child protection systems, says the text.

To discourage the demand that drives trafficking for sexual exploitation, MEPs stress that the burden of proof in criminal cases should rest with those who purchase sexual services of trafficked persons, rather than with those who sell them.

Identify victims early and grant them rights

MEPs call on EU member states to ensure that police, the judiciary, medical staff and social workers all receive adequate training, so that they can identify vulnerable victims early and offer them the support they need. This includes accommodation, medical treatment, translation, legal counselling, including for the purpose of claiming compensation, and a recovery period of at least 30 days.

In order to ensure that support and assistance are provided, member states should grant victims residence permits and access to the labour market in the member state to which they were trafficked, says the text.

"To help to ensure that victims of trafficking receive adequate support and assistance to get their lives back on track, member states should grant victims residence permits and access to their labour markets. Furthermore, victims of trafficking are often required to give evidence in criminal cases against traffickers and therefore they need to be present, which is not always possible under the current rules", concluded Ms Bearder.


EU supports global action to address human trafficking

The European Union together with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and International Organization for Migration (IOM) joined forces with the government to officially launch the “Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants Program” in Vientiane Wednesday.

EU Chargé d’Affaires Michel Goffin, Unicef Country Representative Hongwei Gao, Director of United Nations Social and Economic Division, Department of International Organizations, Daovy Vongxay, IOM Representative Damien Kilner and Crime Prevention Expert, Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section, UNODC Mrs Silke Albert, addressed the meeting to officially launch the programme in Laos.

The program is a four-year (2015-2019) joint initiative that will be implemented by UNODC, IOM and Unicef in partnership with the local government authorities in 13 countries across the world including Laos and will be focused on assistance to authorities, civil society organisations and victims of trafficking and smuggling.

This joint initiative will assist countries to develop and implement effective responses to trafficking in people and the smuggling of migrants. The dual prevention and protection approach has been adopted and includes six key actions such as strategy and policy development, legislative assistance, capacity building, regional and trans-regional cooperation, protections and assistance to victims of trafficking and smuggled migrants and assistance and support to children among victims of trafficking and smuggled migrants.

“The EU considers that trafficking is the slavery of our time. Trafficking in human beings is a severe violation of fundamental rights. It is also a serious form of organized crime, driven by very high profits and sustained by a high demand for the services of its victims. It affects women and men, girls and boys, and causes profound and often life-long harm to victims and communities,” Goffin said in his address.

“The EU contributes 10 million euros to this global action and the Delegation has actively lobbied for Laos to be among the recipient countries, and we are looking forward to seeing the successful implementation of this programme in Laos,” he added. At the meeting, participants were informed about the programme overview, findings from the programme’s consultative mission and action plan for Laos, while representatives from Laos’ Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare presented the Ministry activities for assisting human trafficking victims and safe migration as well as challenges the country faces in dealing with this matter.



Newsletter Subscription


Subscribe to our newsletter.