NEWS: Commission adopts Communication on further actions on traff icking

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Qweb (Qweb@kvinnoforum.se)
Thu, 17 Dec 1998 10:56:03 +0100


The Communication is not yet, but ought soon to be presented in full text
on: http://europa.eu.int/comm/off/com/index_en.htm
Regards,
Nina Strandberg
Q Web Sweden - A Women's Empowerment Base
http://www.qweb.kvinnoforum.se

IP/98/1088
Brussels, 9 December 1998

Commission adopts Communication on further actions in the fight against
trafficking in women

The European Commission has adopted a Communication on further actions in
the fight against trafficking in women. The objective is to assure that the
question of trafficking in women remains high on the political agenda of the
European Union. It encourages Member States to implement their legal
obligations and to reinforce international cooperation between countries of
origin, transit and destination. The purpose is also to address a clear
message to the candidate countries of the necessity to take national
measures and to cooperate with the EU already now on this issue. The
Communication suggests a number of action points in order to take the fight
against trafficking further, both in the Member States, on an EU level and
internationally. For its part, the Commission intends to make a proposal
next year for legislative action regarding temporary permits of stay for
victims who are ready to act as witnesses. It will also produce a
Communication on assistance to victims, including victims of trafficking.
The Communication is presented on the initiative of Commissioner Anita
Gradin, responsible for Justice and Home Affairs. It is a follow up to the
Communication adopted by the Commission in November 1996. It indicates the
state of play in the fight against trafficking and the implementation of
various action points in the 1996 Communication. The objective is also to
identify the main shortcomings and to recommend a number of new initiatives.
"In 1996 trafficking in women had only started to be seen by governments and
the public opinion as a serious violation of women's human rights. Since
then public awareness and international cooperation has increased
considerably. Actions have been initiated both by the EU and by other
international organisations, such as the United Nations, the Council of
Europe and the G8. This global recognition of the problem is gratifying",
says Commissioner Anita Gradin.
"But despite this encouraging political development, the number of women
trafficked into the EU continues to grow. This is why it is important to
keep up the momentum and to suggest further actions."
All Member States are to a greater or lesser extent affected by trafficking
in women. Often the trafficked women are forced into prostitution in
conditions akin to slavery. The main flow comes from or through the
candidate countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Law enforcement officials
of several Member States have noted the appearance of major criminal
networks in this area as well as links with other forms of criminality. This
is a worrying trend for the EU, and explains the need for further common
actions.
 This second communication should also be seen in a broader context as
outlined in the Action Plan against organised crime endorsed by the Heads of
State and Government at the Amsterdam summit of June 1997.
The Commission proposes a strengthening of the multi-disciplinary approach
taken so far by the EU. It should focus on prevention, research,
law-enforcement and an effective sentencing of traffickers, as well as
support to victims. The Commission particularly stresses the importance of
involving non-governmental organisations.
Among the actions proposed are:
- The development of joint projects with international and regional
organisations. For instance, to organise and support new prevention
campaigns in countries of origin or transit.
- The Commission will, with the agreement of Member States, refocus the
guidelines for the STOP programme (aimed at the fight against trafficking)
on information to victims, more targeted research work including studies on
the profile of the clients and on the various intermediaries in the
trafficking chain, to help define more operational types of projects. New
training approaches for officials should be developed in cooperation with
Europol.
- The Commission will propose legislative actions as regards temporary
permits of stay for victims who are ready to act as witnesses. It will also
produce, in 1999, a Communication on assistance to victims, including
victims of trafficking.
- Member States should consider coordinating their positions as regards the
future United Nations Protocol on trafficking in human beings.
- Europol should be encouraged to deepen its cooperation with Interpol on
this issue.
- In terms of victim support the Commission encourages the development of
reception and rehabilitation centres, as well as training of social and
health personnel. It will advertise the possibilities offered under various
EU programmes, such as INTEGRA, LEONARDO and DAPHNE, and under the various
health programmes.
- The opening of the STOP and DAPHNE programmes to the applicant countries
of Central and Eastern Europe should be encouraged. Concrete projects will
continue to be supported under the PHARE Democracy programme. Awareness
raising and education among potential victims will be supported under the
SOCRATES and Youth for Europe Programmes.
- In the case of developing countries, existing financial cooperation
instruments will be mobilised in favour of research and pilot projects in
the field of fight against trafficking in women.


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