[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 October 2005, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
EU sets out anti-trafficking plan
Prostitute, Italy
Women are often lured to EU countries to work as prostitutes
Better co-operation between member states could help combat people trafficking in Europe, says the EU's Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini.

Setting out proposals to tackle the crime, he said ending the exploitation was a moral necessity.

The plans are being discussed at a two-day conference in Brussels.

Estimates suggest tens of thousands of people are smuggled into Europe each year and are exploited for cheap labour or sold into prostitution.

The conference aims to pool the best practice on tackling the problem with non-EU countries.

Residence permits

It has been jointly organised by the EU and an anti-trafficking task force in Nordic and Baltic states.

"Child trafficking, in particular, must be tackled in the light of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights that stresses the child's best interests as a primary consideration in all actions relating to children," Mr Frattini said.

He said more than one million people were trafficked every year, around three quarters of them women and girls, and of those, more than two thirds were forced into sexual servitude.

Mr Frattini urged member states to implement EU decisions on trafficking, including one which grants residence permits to victims who give evidence against their traffickers.

Mr Frattini said no single country would be able to eliminate human trafficking: co-operation was essential if trans-national criminal networks were to be dismantled.


The BBC's Alix Kroeger says the EU wants more co-operation between member states and agencies, such as Frontex, which monitors external borders, and Europol on law enforcement. It also wants biometric identifiers - such as iris scans - included in passports, visas and identity cards.

Sweden's Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds said the EU should consider the Nordic-Baltic task force as an example - where co-ordination between Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, and the Baltic countries of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania has led to a reduction in trafficking.

Our correspondent says prosecuting trafficking cases is difficult, and often crosses borders.

UK Home Office Minister Paul Goggins quoted the case of a Russian girl who thought she was going to Spain to work as a waitress.

Instead, she was given a Lithuanian false passport, taken to Belgium, forced into prostitution and sold to an Albanian trafficker who took her to the UK.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific