The European Parliament has approved a resolution calling for stronger measures against human trafficking. According to the resolution’s sponsors, the situation for victims, many of them migrant women and children, has gotten even worse since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
The European Parliament approved a new resolution calling for tougher measures against human trafficking on Wednesday, with 571 votes in favor of the report and only 61 votes against it.
In the resolution, the MEPs called on EU member states to criminalize the conscious use of human-trafficking victims’ sexual services; they also demanded more collaboration in the monitoring and production of reliable data on the phenomenon.
The exploitation of Migrant Women and Children
The parliament or MEPsmembers said the situation for victims of human trafficking had worsened since the start of the pandemic. Resolution co-sponsor Juan Fernando López Aguilar said human trafficking had “increased due to the COVID-19 crisis and online tools that are increasingly used to trap people.”
In a press release, the resolution signatories pointed out that “sexual exploitation remains the most prevalent and reported purpose for which people are trafficked in the EU, predominantly affecting women and girls, and perpetrated mostly by men.” Migrant or refugee women and children are particularly vulnerable to this type of crime, MEPs said in the statement.
Review Anti-Trafficking Directive
“We are calling on the Commission to review the anti-trafficking directive, so that all member states explicitly criminalize the use of services provided by victims of human trafficking,” Aguilar said. “We have to support and help the victims, and ensure an end to the culture of impunity surrounding this transnational crime.”
“The trafficking of human beings violates life, physical and mental integrity, sexual freedom and human dignity,” said Maria Soraya Rodriguez Ramos, another co-sponsor of the resolution. “The alarming increase in child trafficking particularly hits undocumented migrants.”
Protecting Migrant Victims, LGBTI Victims
The resolution also denounces the lack of guidelines for authorities in facing cases of exploitation related to categories of people with specific needs, such as migrants, members of the LGBTI community, people with disabilities and people who belong to discriminated racial groups.
Migrants Squeezed in Trucks
Police in North Macedonia have found 94 migrants hiding inside the back of a cargo truck back in August 2020. The discovery came after a police patrol stopped the truck with Macedonian national license plate late Saturday. The incident took place near Radovich’s town, 110 kilometers (70 miles) southeast of the country’s capital, Skopje.
Authorities said that the migrants came from Syria, Afghanistan, Ira, and Pakistan and entered the country through the Greek border. They have since been transferred to a migrant shelter in the border town of Gevgelija, pending deportation to Greece. The driver of the truck was reported to have fled the scene, police said.
The border between Greece and North Macedonia had been closed earlier this year due to the global coronavirus pandemic. However, human traffickers continue to move migrants across the border using irregular crossings. There have been numerous accidents with serious injuries this year among migrants as part of the illegal smuggling activities in North Macedonia.