The report, drafted by Austrian Socialist Christa Prets, also recommends a "right of residence" for victims after the traffickers have been tried, which now exists only in Belgium and Italy, suggesting this could encourage victims to give statements and help secure the conviction of offenders. And the giving of anonymous statements must be allowed in the context of investigations into trafficking. Mrs Prets meanwhile said that she is against proposals made by some of her French and Swedish colleagues on the Women's Rights Committee to make the soliciting of prostitutes a criminal offence across the board. "This is a totally wrong starting point", she claimed.
Of the estimated 600,000 to 800,000 men, women and children trafficked across international borders each year, approximately 80% are women and girls and up to 50% are minors. The committee calls for more coordination among EU member states and at international level in tackling trafficking. It also calls for more research into its underlying causes. Among the practical measures proposed in the report are awareness-raising campaigns and setting up national and international telephone help-lines.
At the same time, Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini in a statement on November 25 to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women pledged to...