EU Agency Issues Report on Child Trafficking
Monday, July 27, 2009 10:01 AM

In October, 2007, the European Commission asked the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) to develop a report on the spread of child trafficking in the EU member states.  On July 7, 2009, the FRA released its report:  "Child Trafficking in the EU - Challenges, perspectives and good practices."

Many, and possibly most, victims of child trafficking are girls. The report noted many current difficulties in the area of child trafficking, including:

-Many children are forced into child trafficking each year.  While the evidence is clear that child trafficking is a challenge facing the entire world, there is limited statistical data to provide knowledge of the full extent of the problem.

-Children often disappear from shelters.  The report indicated that children who disappear from shelters are more likely to fall victim to child trafficking.  While many member states have yet to develop monitoring systems for these shelters, NGOs report that such disappearances are widespread.

-Low number of convictions for child trafficking.  Child trafficking convictions were only found in four of the EU member states during the period between 2000 and 2007.

-In order to successfully convict perpetrators of child trafficking, it is vital to identify victims.  Many victims of child trafficking are not accurately identified as such.  This is one of the factors that led to the low conviction rate during the studied time-period.

-Victims of child trafficking must be protected.  In many EU member states, victims of child trafficking are treated like criminals and charged with crimes, such as prostitution.  The report recommends EU legislation be targeted to stop this practice and to instead protect child victims.

According to FRA Director Morten Kjaerum,  "Human trafficking is part of the modern slave trade.  Every year, a significant number of children in the EU fall victim to trafficking for sexual exploitation, labour exploitation, adoption and organ extraction.  These are alarming signals.  We must make every possible effort to protect and support these children".

Compiled from:  "EU Must Do More to Fight Child Trafficking:  FRA Presents Report on Child Trafficking in the EU (07/07/2009)," European Union Fundamental Rights Agency; Child Trafficking in the EU - Challenges, Perspectives and Good Practices (07/07/2009 - July 2009), European Union Fundamental Rights Agency; FRA Report on Child Trafficking (2009), European Policy Action Center on Violence Against Women (7/5/2009).