Part 1 of 3….
This blog usually focuses on particular laws and court cases that have affected the societal landscape of Eastern Europe. Yet, for the duration of this three part special I want to focus on the grey areas of the law, the loopholes and lack of legislation that allow for a booming presence of human trafficking in the region. Human trafficking and modern-day slavery is a global phenomenon that lurks in the cracks of our everyday life, largely unnoticed. Despite fundamental transnational legislation explicitly forbidding it (Article 5.3 in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights) and laws designed to integrate prostitution into the mainstream economy and regulate it in countries like Hungary, sex trafficking continues to be a lucrative form of underground crime.
Focusing the spotlight on the human trafficking network in Europe presents a well-known and well-worn narrative. Girls from countries suffering great economic instability seek better prospects and grasp at the opportunities handed to them, often by people they love and trust. They are then trafficked to other parts of the continent, often to the more developed countries in Western Europe on the promise of a better life only to be kept, controlled, abused and often subjected to horrid living conditions.
Less than two weeks ago, the BBC published an article that recounted a truly distressing journey of the forced prostitution, desperation and horrible living conditions of a young mother of two who was trafficked from Eastern Europe to Wales.
This is not to say that there aren’t resources committed to help trafficked victims and fight against modern day slavery. Shelters like ‘Bawso’ are set up throughout Europe, and many organizations are committed to helping the cause. We are given public service announcements on what to look for, documentaries have been made, articles have been written and the interviews of survivors have been shared. But what about the one thing that can stall this practice once and for all? What more can possibly be done in terms of legislation, both national and international, to disincentivize and block traffickers?
The Jury will reconvene to discuss the legal disparities that allow for human trafficking with a closer look at the situation in Romania…