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Europe: Summit aims to beat sex traffic trade

Publish Date: 14 Oct 2005

Source: Community Newswire
By Ben Pindar


Some of Europe's leading decision makers were today coming together for a summit in London which aims to bring an end to the sex traffic trade.

London - The conference, which has been organised by the European Women's Lobby (EWL) and National Alliance of Women's Organisations (NAWO), will set a European agenda for bringing an end to sexual slavery.

The increase in trafficking from Eastern Europe and the New Independent States to the EU over the last three years has been described as "a growing international scandal".

During the British presidency it has been one of the major priorities facing the European Union and a new European Commission proposal on combating trafficking is expected on October 19.

The speakers at today's event at the Thistle City Barbican Hotel will address specific questions such as preventing trafficking, legalisation of prostitution, reducing the demand of sexual exploitation, supporting victims, investigating and prosecuting traffickers and enhancing international cooperation.

Chairing the event will be Annette Lawson, vice-president of the EWL, and speakers will include Sigma Huda, the UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking, Meg Munn, Minister for Women and Equality, Inger Segelstrom, Swedish MEP, and Bob Murrill from the Metropolitan Police.

Current research shows that in major EU cities, up to 90% of women in prostitution are of foreign origin.

Trafficking in women and children is a key element in supplying the sex industry, which makes a profit exceeding 12 billion annually.

In a 2005 report, the International Labour Organisation estimated that 72% of those exploited - 360 000 people - are sexually exploited. In transition countries, of which 210 000 people affected, 95% are in sexual exploitation.

A spokesperson for the EWL said: "Trafficking in human beings for sex is a growing international scandal and major money spinner for the criminals who organise it. It is sexual slavery.

"Reasons for the supply side include poverty, war, conflict, insecurity, gender inequality and world trade patterns. The causes are more often documented and discussed than the demand for `services'.

"The EWL calls for a focus on the demand side - Who is buying? Who creates the market? Who benefits? Who loses? What is the responsibility of the men who buy; governments; the police; migration?"

The European Women's Lobby brings together more than 4,000 organisations, working to achieve equality of women and men. Founded in 1990, it is the largest coalition of women's non government organisations in the European Union. For more information visit

NAWO is the co-ordinating body for the European Women's Lobby in England. NAWO is a membership organisation which focuses on women and Europe and works to bridge gaps between women's organisations and decision-makers. For more information visit

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