Surrogacy only criminalised in the context of trafficking under new proposals 

Communiqué de presse 

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Lead MEPs Malin Björk and Eugenia Rodriguez Palop steering Parliament’s position on rules to combat human trafficking made the following statement.

“Last week, the Women’s Rights and Civil Liberties committees adopted Parliament’s draft position on the revision of the rules of combating trafficking in human beings. It focuses on prevention, boosting protection and support to victims, as well as tackling the crime more effectively.

There have been claims that the text would entail a general ban on surrogacy. This is not the case. The adopted text only addresses surrogacy for reproductive exploitation in the context of trafficking. The explicit reference to "surrogacy for reproductive exploitation" would ensure that if a woman is recruited by being threatened to become a surrogate for the purpose of reproductive exploitation, she would be considered a victim of trafficking and benefit from the rights under these rules, while the traffickers would be prosecuted.

Only when all the elements of trafficking occur -conduct, means and purpose- is it considered an offence, as defined in the 2011 rules, otherwise it cannot be considered a trafficking case.”

Lead MEP for the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee Maria Eugenia Rodriguez Palop (The Left, Spain) added: “The proposal is very clear and legally sound - this is not about criminalising surrogacy but about including surrogacy in the context of trafficking, where reproductive exploitation has taken place. We are therefore solely talking about victims of this crime. Also, there are many other issues the proposal tackles, and numerous measures to assist, support and protect victims are at stake."

Lead MEP for the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee Malin Björk (The Left, Sweden) concluded: “The text does not ban surrogacy in general, but it would criminalise surrogacy in the context of trafficking. For surrogacy to be an offence under the directive, all elements of the crime constituting trafficking have to be present. This means that only surrogacy carried out through the use of force, threat or coercion would fall under the directive.”

Next steps

The full House is set to endorse the draft mandate during the 16-19 October plenary session. Once Parliament has adopted its position, negotiations between Parliament, member states and the Commission are due to start in November.