European Union External Action

HRC 47 - EU Intervention: Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on trafficking

Geneva, 29/06/2021 - 16:23, UNIQUE ID: 210629_29
Statements on behalf of the EU

Madam President,

The European Union welcomes the work of the Special Rapporteur and thanks her for her report.

The EU remains committed to promoting a human rights-based approach to preventing and combatting trafficking in persons, especially women and children.

The current EU strategy 2021-2025 focuses on preventing the crime, bringing traffickers to justice and protecting and empowering victims with a specific focus on women and children. This includes seeking to improve the early identification of victims and their referral for further assistance and protection, strengthen victim empowerment programmes and facilitate re-integration.

It is key that victims of trafficking are treated by States as rights holders and without prejudice or bias. It is also important that they can expect that States tackle impunity for human trafficking-related crimes, that they do not have to fear retaliation or secondary victimisation when they report a crime, and that those circumstances be duly factored in if they are tried for crimes they were compelled to commit during their exploitation.

In this regard, the EU also stresses the need to include a strong gender dimension in all efforts to supporting and empowering victims of trafficking. Trafficking for sexual exploitation is still one of the most frequent forms of exploitation. Several factors make women and girls more vulnerable to trafficking, in particular gender inequality, which can lead to and be compounded by poverty, social exclusion, and discrimination in all its forms. With the Covid-19 pandemic, the risks to trafficking have increased in the digital space.

Madam Special Rapporteur,

How can the digital environment also be used to provide opportunities for education, access to information and prevention, especially with a view to preventing trafficking of women and children?

Thank you.

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