Study on the economic, social and human costs of trafficking in human beings within the EU

European Union Publications Office
Publication date:


The purpose of the Study is to measure the cost of trafficking in human beings in the European Union. Trafficking in human beings is a particularly serious crime, driven by profits and involves a chain of actors who are knowingly or unknowingly involved. “It brings high profits to the perpetrators, who abuse people’s vulnerabilities and exploit the demand for the services provided by the victims. It results in long-term harm to its victims, our societies and economies.” It is a violation of fundamental rights that causes immense harm to the victims. It has economic, social and human costs. The existence of trafficking in human beings is a cost to the wider economy and society by creating need for public services, in diverting resources away from the legal economy, and in its effects on the quality of life. Measuring the cost of trafficking in human beings in a monetary form is done in order to improve the quality of decision-making where cost-benefit analysis is relevant to decisions over the allocation of public resources. Translating trafficking in human beings into a cost is relevant to public policy concerning developing the European area of freedom, security and justice, and the Single European Market. This Study is a key Commission action to build a sound knowledge base for the 2017 Commission Communication “Reporting on the follow up to the EU Strategy towards the eradication of trafficking in human beings and identifying further concrete actions” and the EU Anti-trafficking Directive.

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