More than 20 million people living today around the world have been trafficked for sexual exploitation, forced labour and other activities across the world, generating a profit of €117 billion a year. It is also a very lucrative crime in Europe. On the occasion of the EU's Anti-Trafficking Day on 18 October, check out the facts in our infographic and discover what the EU and Parliament have been doing to tackle human trafficking.
Situation in the EU
In 2012 EU countries reported 11,000 registered, identified and presumed victims of human trafficking. Women and girls comprise 95% of victims trafficked for sexual exploitation, men comprise 70% of registered victims of labour exploitation. The majority of identified victims and suspected traffickers in the EU are EU nationals.
MEPs adopted an anti-trafficking directive in 2011, covering anything from prevention, to victims support and prosecution of offenders. The EU also has a strategy for the period 2012-2016 with 40 different measures targeting human trafficking as well as an EU coordinator to facilitate its implementation.
Earlier this year MEPs assessed current European legislation to combat human trafficking and recommended several measures to improve the situation in two resolutions adopted in May and July. MEPs called on EU countries to better implement existing laws and provide better support to victims.
UK ALDE member Catherine Bearder, who wrote the May resolution, said: “Five years ago the EU made huge strides when the anti-trafficking directive was brought into force but we are still not joined-up enough in our approach as data shows the number of trafficked individuals continues to rise."
The MEP said the refugee crisis had made the issue of trafficking even more pertinent: "We must be doing all we can right across Europe to protect the many, many thousands of unaccompanied vulnerable minors who are particularly exposed to traffickers and go missing all too easily."
About Anti-Trafficking Day
The first EU Anti-Trafficking Day took place d in 2007 following a recommendation by the European Parliament and a proposal by the European Commission.