Nordic Council Citizens' and Consumer Rights Committee Addresses Trafficking
Sunday, October 1, 2006 9:18 AM

The Nordic Council Citizens' and Consumer Rights Committee held a special session to address trafficking in human beings focused on enforcement and causes, as well as victim services.  The Council debated the various enforcement agreements currently in place, as well as their effectiveness in combating human trafficking.

Some members, such as Swedish Ambassador Anders Olejelund, noted that though there are many national and international agreements, perpetrators who benefit from trafficking are not afraid of symbolic legislation.  Finnish Police trafficking task force member Pirjo Valonen also stressed the importance of cross-sector cooperation on international, regional and local levels. 

Members also discussed the importance of combating the root causes of trafficking as an important part of victim protection.  While Marco Gramenga emphasized that there is still a need for further legislation to increase international cooperation, he noted the centrality of immigration in the search for well-paying jobs that often leads to trafficking. There were conflicting opinions of the role that legalized prostitution might have in increasing trafficking. Still, Malin Bjork articulated the importance of providing regional services for victims and their families and training for officials and organizations, rather than focusing strictly on enforcement.

The Council considered two proposals to be presented during the annual session of the Nordic Council later this year.  One, from the Social Democratic Group, calls for a Nordic Action Plan to combat trafficking, while the other proposal, from the Left Socialist and Green Group (VSG), requests that victim refuges be set up in the Baltic States and Northwest Russia.

Media contact: Karin Arvidsson

Compiled from: Information provided by Womens United Nations Report Network (WUNRN) and Funding Needed to Combat Trafficking, Nordic Council and Council of Ministers,  (20 September 2006).