Europe: Economic Crisis Makes Migrant Women Vulnerable to Sex Trafficking
Monday, November 5, 2012 2:55 PM

Police in France broke up a Nigerian human trafficking ring in which young women were brought there via Italy for sexual exploitation. The number of victims of human trafficking is growing worldwide because of the economic crisis in countries such as Greece and Italy, an indication of how the sex trafficking system exploits the most vulnerable. The International Labour Organization puts the number of human trafficking victims at 1.5 million in the European Union and other developed areas and close to 21 million worldwide.
Pierrette Pape of the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) said that “Amongst the many forms of violence against women, prostitution remains a key area where women’s rights are pervasively violated.” EWL urged member states of the European Parliament to take action against sex trafficking before the recent Summer Olympics and is organizing a European conference on prostitution on December 4 in Brussels.
According to Nusha Yonkova, an anti-trafficking coordinator at the Immigrant Council of Ireland, migrant women who get involved in the commercial sex trade face multiple challenges, including insecurity in relation to their immigration status, criminalization by the state, isolation, disorientation due to constant movement among brothels, vulnerability to extortion and blackmail, control by pimps and lack of medical care. Migrant women face particular challenges getting in to the legitimate labor market mostly because of their illegal status. In most cases women receive only a very small amount of money for prostitution which is not enough for them to live on.
Compiled from: McKenzie, A.D., Migrant Women Trapped in Sex Trade, IPS (Oct. 24, 2012).