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de Brún urges EU to do more to end people trafficking

16 November, 2006


Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has this morning urged the European Union "to strengthen the human rights based, gender equality and victim-centred approach to people trafficking".

Ms de Brún made her calls after she spoke late last night in the European Parliament on a debate calling for an integrated approach to the problem of human trafficking across the EU and the world as a whole.

Speaking this morning Ms de Brún said:

"The trafficking of people is not only an absolutely abhorrent practice, but it is also global in both scale and nature. A 2005 'Trafficking in Persons' report estimated that approximately 600,000 to 800,000 men, women, and children are trafficked across international borders each year. Approximately 80 percent are women and girls and up to 50 percent are minors.

"Given that this problem is on the rise, an integrated approach is required, and one which takes full account of the importance of prevention and of reducing demand. I want to welcome the report‚s call for EU Member States and the European Council to strengthen the human rights based, gender equality and victim-centred approach to this issue. It is essential that the trafficking of people be dealt with as a human rights issue rather than being seen mainly as a border control issue. Trafficking is primarily about exploitation - not illegal migration.

"The report debated last night contains some important measures on protecting victims and these must be included and resourced in as a major part of any Action Plan. Invariably, those most affected by the trade in people are amongst the most vulnerable. Of course properly identifying victims of trafficking is crucial to ensuring that they receive the services they require and training of those who come into contact with undocumented migrants is important here.

"As this report points out, measures are required to ensure the protection not only of victims of sexual exploitation but also victims of labour exploitation and other forms of trafficking. European governments should understand that an integral part of the fight against trafficking is the introduction of strengthened workers' rights measures to protect migrant workers. We must not only look to the Convention on Action against Trafficking, therefore, but also to ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families." ENDS

Note to Editor: The report discussed last night was "a proposal for a European Parliament recommendation to the Council on fighting trafficking in human beings - an integrated approach and proposals for an action plan" - Edit Bauer MEP

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