Human trafficking is on the rise in Europe, and the EP wants the men, women and child victims to speak out against the criminal gangs. How is this trade to be stopped? Improved cooperation between Member States, better victim protection and harsher senten
Human traffic is increasing in Europe. Women thrown out on the street to enrich the flourishing prostitution, Children sold to beg and men used as slaves in the black market. The EP wants to strengthen the protection of victims and improve cooperation between states to destroy criminal networks. I was working on the streets, as a prostitute. And in the end as I had fled they came and threatened my mother. This Nigerian woman found the courage to report those that exploited her who will be be brought before the French courts to face heavy sentences. We have to cooperate with these young women, these victims. We need them to report their pimps. We need them to tell us the reasons why they have been sold. As that is exactly what has happened. They have literally been sold and exploited in a terrible way. What's important to them is that the network is shut down in its entirety, that the ringleaders are taken to court and given harsh sentences. That's the girls' main priority. We've spoken about papers and that's fine. A woman with a residence card who knows her pimp will be out in 2 years, looking for revenge is a real cause for concern. She decides it's better not to come forward as a witness but to stay away, to avoid any repercussions. Human trafficking is on the rise on our continent according to Europol. The European Police Agency says this slave trade affects, and it's a recent development, men as well as women and children. For Europe, the issue is two-fold. Better protection for victims and harsher punishments for traffickers, so they don't retaliate, on their release from prison. In Cyprus, Father Savvas has saved almost 300 girls in five years from Eastern Europe, who had been forced into prostitution. Having arrived a few months ago to work as dancers or waitresses on 'artist' visas, permits required for work in the entertainment industry, they had to quickly give in to the demands of their bosses. We have to stop girls from coming here, from being tricked and forced into this. On 1 November last year, following pressure, notably from the EU, these 'artist' visas were abolished by the Cypriot government. But sexual trafficking is far from over on the island. With a lot of hypocrisy, they registered the women here as dancers or barmaids, but they knew beforehand that their real job was about sexual exploitation, forced prostitution, under the conditions of slavery. The European Council believes that there are 500,000 victims of this trade each year in Europe. Criminal networks infiltrate Europe from the East, via Bulgaria and Romania. In southern Europe, the points of access are Italy and Spain. Europeans have to work together to bring down these networks. Also, the protection of victims has to include financial support, to avoid them falling back into the hands of other criminals. Meanwhile, in Cyprus, Father Savvas continues to help these women, ignoring the threats that hang over him. Pimps on the island have offered a 15,000 euros reward for his head.