Trafficking in human beings remains a highly profitable form of serious and organised crime, explicitly prohibited in Article 5 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, driven by high profits, and by the demand that fosters all forms of exploitation. The EU has in place a solid legal and policy framework to address trafficking in human beings, for all forms of exploitation, under the horizontal mandate of the EU Anti-trafficking Coordinator.
While recalling that all forms of exploitation must be equally addressed, it is also important to highlight that, in the EU and globally, women and girls account for the majority of the victims and survivors of trafficking in human beings, and are disproportionately trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
Multilateralism is at the centre of the EU's response. The EU is committed to work with partners supporting the full implementation of UNTOC and the Trafficking in Persons Protocol, Especially Women and Children, reiterating the need to adhere to international legal standards.
The EU's policy framework for the implementation of the Women Peace and Security agenda has been further broadened by two additional UNSC resolutions, namely UNSCR 2272(2016) on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) and UNSCR 2331(2016) on Trafficking in Persons in Conflict Situations. This testifies to the fact that we acknowledge the existence of a clear link between gender inequality and Trafficking in human beings in (pre- and post-) conflict situations. For the EU, the promotion of Gender Equality and the full implementation of the WPS agenda, and thus confronting the scourge of Trafficking in human beings, remains essential.
In the EU Strategic Approach to WPS, EU Member States committed to systematically integrate a gender perspective into, inter alia, trafficking in human beings as well as to implement and promote internal and external policies of zero tolerance to discrimination, sexual exploitation and abuse, trafficking in human beings, sexual assault and sexual harassment.
These commitments are reflected in the EU Action Plan on WPS (2019-24), and more specifically in its pledged action to identify national and international best practices on prevention and on countering impunity for trafficking in human beings, especially for sexual exploitation.
We see two broader priorities in this regard:
As recalled on the occasion of the 13th EU Anti-trafficking Day on 18 October 2019, our ultimate goal remains to eradicate the crime in all its forms, to ensure accountability towards the survivors and to counter the culture of impunity that fosters trafficking in human beings for all forms of exploitation, including by criminalising the use of services of victims of trafficking with the knowledge that the person is a victim of trafficking.