onsdag 27 januari 2010

Debate on trafficking

Action against trafficking in human beigs:
promotion the Council of Europe Convention
Tuesdag afternoon, 26 januari 2010
Statment of Carina Hägg

On behalf of the Socialist Group, I would like to congratulate Ms Wurm for her excellent and stimulating report.

Unfortunately, trafficking against human beings remains a topical issue in Europe, a violation of human rights which is totally unacceptable. At the same time, this report sends out a strong political message : we, parliamentarians, can act and do more to protect victims of trafficking - and prevent more victims to be trafficked. The Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings provides a legal framework, sets common standards. It is up to us, parliamentarians, to ensure that our governments sign this convention, that our parliaments ratify it and monitor its implementation.

Such a legal framework as our Convention is absolutely needed if we want to combat trafficking in human beings, which has a strong gender dimension. In times of economic crisis, poverty, post war and also in crisis situations that follow natural disasters (for example in Haïti these days), women are more vulnerable - and more exposed to trafficking. This is why it is important to secure women's safety in particular in such circumstances. Such a legal framework as our Convention can help prevent trafficking, and can perhaps lead to the empowerment of women, in order for them to have alternative, decent opportunities in their life.

This afternoon, we heard a moving testimony from Mr Rantsev from Russia in the Equality Committee meeting. Her daughter Oksana, a young student who thought she would spend some time in Cyprus acting as an English interpreter, ended up in a cabaret and was trafficked. Despite her attempts to escape, her journey ended in the most tragic way: death. Because the authorities were unable to protect her. In fact, the police handed her back to her "employer" as if she were an object in his possession.

How many further Oksanas will it need to take this issue really seriously? I believe that it is high time for us to react - and act. Once again, I would like thank the Rapporteur Ms Wurm and the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men for reminding us that we all have a political duty to defend human rights, including women's fundamental right to a life free from violence. I therefore invite you to support the proposed draft resolution and recommendation - and promote the Council of Europe convention in your own parliament.

Carina Hägg

Trafficking in human beings: victim’s father speaks