[Brussels, October 2020]
For this year’s EU Anti-Trafficking Day, at the European Women’s Lobby we wish to focus on what the European Institutions can do to improve the situation towards ending trafficking for sexual exploitation across Europe.
Trafficking is a sad reality in every European city and town - an international crime that occurs locally, a highly gendered issue mainly impacting women and girls. The sex trade thrives only due to trafficking - there would never be enough "supply" to tackle the demand that men create for paid sex if it wasn’t for the thousands of women across Europe who are trafficked and endure daily rape at the hands of "buyers" to profit pimps, traffickers and male "clients".
We continue to call for increased action to end this as a reality for women and girls in the sex trade today, and prevent millions more from being coerced, violated and exploited in the future. The European Institutions recognise "trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and girls" as a European crime. While there is a strong piece of legislation in the Anti-Trafficking Directive, we are calling for this to be further strengthened to ensure the EU can ensure Member States are following through effectively to end demand for paid abuse.
We are also calling for further action, to fill the gap where there remain no laws comprehensively tackling sexual exploitation - this must change as a matter of urgency, to tackle the full continuum of the sex trade and to recognise that prostitution and trafficking for sexual exploitation are inseparable forms of violence.
Therefore, the EWL is using today, EU Anti-Trafficking Day 2020, to raise our call for a comprehensive Directive to Tackle Violence Against Women and Girls, including sexual exploitation and online forms of violence. Such legislation can bring together the most significant existing pieces of legislation (the Victim’s Rights Directive, Anti-Trafficking Directive, Directive on Combatting Child Exploitation and Abuse, etc) and fill the remaining gaps including sexual exploitation.
Join us through contacting your political leaders, raise awareness across society by starting conversations with those around you, and for the political decision makers: we call on you to lift your voices and act now to support this legislative action - make change happen, join us in building a Feminist Europe for All!