QotD: “10,000 refugee children are missing, says Europol”
Please note, this is the article I complained about yesterday, but I think the information is too important not to re-blog.
At least 10,000 unaccompanied child refugees have disappeared after arriving in Europe, according to the EU’s criminal intelligence agency. Many are feared to have fallen into the hands of organised trafficking syndicates.
In the first attempt by law enforcement agencies to quantify one of the most worrying aspects of the migrant crisis, Europol’s chief of staff told the Observer that thousands of vulnerable minors had vanished after registering with state authorities.
Brian Donald said 5,000 children had disappeared in Italy alone, while another 1,000 were unaccounted for in Sweden. He warned that a sophisticated pan-European “criminal infrastructure” was now targeting refugees. “It’s not unreasonable to say that we’re looking at 10,000-plus children. Not all of them will be criminally exploited; some might have been passed on to family members. We just don’t know where they are, what they’re doing or whom they are with.”
The plight of unaccompanied child refugees has emerged as one of the most pressing issues in the migrant crisis. Last week it was announced that Britain would accept more unaccompanied minors from Syria and other conflict zones. According to Save the Children, an estimated 26,000 unaccompanied children entered Europe last year. Europol, which has a 900-strong force of intelligence analysts and police liaison officers, believes 27% of the million arrivals in Europe last year were minors.
“Whether they are registered or not, we’re talking about 270,000 children. Not all of those are unaccompanied, but we also have evidence that a large proportion might be,” said Donald, indicating that the 10,000 figure is likely to be a conservative estimate of the actual number of unaccompanied minors who have disappeared since entering Europe.
In October, officials in Trelleborg, southern Sweden, revealed that some 1,000 unaccompanied refugee children who had arrived in the port town over the previous month had gone missing. On Tuesday a separate report, again from Sweden, warned that many unaccompanied refugees vanished and that there was “very little information about what happens after the disappearance”.
In the UK the number of children who disappear soon after arriving as asylum seekers has doubled over the past year, raising fears that they are also being targeted by criminal gangs.
Mariyana Berket, of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said: “Unaccompanied minors from regions of conflict are by far the most vulnerable population; those without parental care that have either been sent by their families to get into Europe first and then get the family over, or have fled with other family members.”
Donald confirmed Europol had received evidence some unaccompanied child refugees in Europe had been sexually exploited. In Germany and Hungary, the former a popular destination country for refugees and migrants, with the latter an important transit state, large numbers of criminals had been caught exploiting migrants, he said. “An entire [criminal] infrastructure has developed over the past 18 months around exploiting the migrant flow. There are prisons in Germany and Hungary where the vast majority of people arrested and placed there are in relation to criminal activity surrounding the migrant crisis,” said Donald.
The police agency has also documented a disturbing crossover between organised gangs helping to smuggle refugees into the EU and human-trafficking gangs exploiting them for sex work and slavery. He said that longstanding criminal gangs known to be involved in human trafficking, whose identity had been logged in the agency’s Phoenix database, were now being caught exploiting refugees.
I mean, look at this last paragraph “sex work and slavery”, for fucks sake, he can write ‘slavery’, but he’s too afraid of the sex industry lobby to write ‘sex slavery’?
How fucked up is it that the commercial sexual exploitation of children is separated out from slavery?
As I said yesterday, the author is on twitter: @townsendmark
Why not let him know that his terminology is on the side of the child rapists?
QotD: “Legalized prostitution significantly increases human sex trafficking”
A study of the impact of legalized prostitution has found that countries where prostitution is legal experience larger reported human trafficking inflows than countries in which prostitution is prohibited.
Professor Eric Neumayer of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and a team of researchers analyzed data on human trafficking from a global sample of 116 countries in order to determine what effect a country’s domestic policy on prostitution has on trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims.
The authors described international human trafficking as “one of the dark sides of globalization,” where the victims, the vast majority of whom are women and girls, end up being sexually exploited through prostitution.
Domestic policy on prostitution in countries of destination, the researchers found, has “a marked effect.”
“Most victims of international human trafficking are women and girls coerced into the sex industry abroad,” said Professor Neumayer. “We wanted to find out if legalized prostitution increases or reduces demand for trafficked women.”
The researchers considered two opposing economic theories that could come into play to support their findings: the “scale effect” where legalized prostitution leads to an expansion of the prostitution market, thus increasing human trafficking, and the “substitution effect” that reduces demand for trafficked women as legal prostitutes are favored over trafficked ones.
“One theory is that legalized prostitution reduces demand because legally residing prostitutes are favoured over trafficked ones after legalization,” Professor Neumayer wrote.
“However, our research suggests that in countries where prostitution is legalized, there is such a significant expansion of the prostitution market that the end result is larger reported inflows of human trafficking. While legalizing prostitution can have positive effects on the working conditions of those legally employed in the industry, it also appears to boost the market for this fast-growing global criminal industry.”
The research team identified the contrasting domestic policies on prostitution of Sweden, Germany and Denmark as significant examples that were representative of their conclusions.
In 1999 Sweden passed legislation that criminalized the buying of sex, and decriminalized the selling of sex. The principle behind this legislation is clearly stated in the government’s literature on the law: “In Sweden prostitution is regarded as an aspect of male violence against women and children. It is officially acknowledged as a form of exploitation of women and children and constitutes a significant social problem… gender equality will remain unattainable so long as men buy, sell and exploit women and children by prostituting them.”
The legislation virtually wiped out prostitution and sex trafficking in Sweden. The Swedish government estimates that since 1999 only 200 to 400 women and girls have been annually trafficked into Sweden for prostitution, while in neighboring Finland the number is reported to be 15,000 to 17,000.
Germany legalized prostitution in 2002. The researchers found that “Germany showed a sharp increase in reports of human trafficking upon fully legalizing prostitution in 2002.”
Moreover, reports from German authorities have shown that legalization has not had the expected “workplace” benefits for prostitutes, nor has it improved the situation for German women at large.
The LSE researchers’ examination of Denmark, where “self-employed prostitution” was decriminalized in 1999, revealed that the number of human trafficking victims was more than four times that of Sweden, although the population size of Sweden is about 40 percent larger than Denmark.
The LSE study corroborates a 2003 study by the Scottish government on the consequences of prostitution policies in several countries. That study found that countries that had legalized and/or regulated prostitution had a dramatic increase in all facets of the sex industry, saw an increase in the involvement of organized crime in the sex industry, and found a dismaying increase in child prostitution, trafficking of women and girls and violence against women.