Por Soraya Rodríguez Ramos

Updated information on gender equality and women’s rights in the world and the role of the European Union.

Women at the Forefront

The role of the European Union in eradicating discrimination against women

The European society does believe in gender equality and women’s rights. Integrating the gender perspective in all policies and fighting against gender-based violence are inherent to our identity, and, they have become even more important in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Promoting the values of the European Union is our way of protecting and ensuring the development of more democratic, inclusive, resilient, just and sustainable societies. Women, in the European Union and in many other parts of the world, today suffer from discrimination, violations of their fundamental rights, and inequality. From the European Parliament, and chiefly, from the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) and Renew Europe, we are committed to pushing for women’s rights, ending gender-based violence, and combating gender stereotypes both within and outside the EU borders.

Women to the Forefront is a space designed to give voice to women who are at the front of the struggle for human rights, and those who work for women’s rights and freedoms where they are violated as well as to push for major changes to achieve greater equality in our societies.

Trafficking in women and children for the purpose of sexual exploitation

Trafficking in human beings is a serious crime, usually committed in the context of organised crime, which directly attacks the fundamental rights of those who are trafficked. The Directive 2011/36/EU, adopted in 2011, aims to strengthen the prevention of this crime. It brings a comprehensive, gender and human rights approach to the fight against trafficking in human beings.

Eleven years after the adoption of this directive, detection and identification rates of human trafficking remain low and official statistics do not fully reflect the reality of this crime in Europe.

Three out of four trafficked persons in the EU are women and girls

Sexual exploitation remains the most prevalent form of trafficking in the European Union. 60% of trafficked persons are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Almost a quarter of the victims in the EU are minors. Girls account for approximately 78% of the victims. Trafficking of children is particularly serious as they may suffer severe and long-lasting physical, psychological and emotional harm. Finally, migrants are more likely to be exposed to human trafficking at various stages of asylum processes.

The culture of impunity and lack of accountability are two of the main difficulties in the fight against human trafficking. For this reason, an important aspect of the prevention of trafficking in human beings is the reduction of demand by criminalising the use of services provided by trafficked persons, in particular victims of sexual exploitation. This approach should also be accompanied by exit programmes for survivors and awareness-raising campaigns, among other measures.

You can find in the following link the European Parliament’s report on the implementation of the EU Directive on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting victims.

Trafficking and sexual exploitation of institutionalised children

Upcoming event in Madrid

The Simone Veil Pact for Gender Equality

The Simone Veil Pact, representing a political commitment by Member States to adopt the most progressive measures in women's rights, aims to make a reality of equality between women and men as a fundamental right at the heart of the European project.

Related articles in the blog

Women at the Forefront