Recovering and growing after an economic banking crisis, Cyprus is also allowing the practice of exploited labor which is the dominant form of trafficking, a report from the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) revealed, with the levels rising across Europe.
In several countries, it has overtaken sexual exploitation as the main form of human trafficking and official figures underestimate the true scale of the problem and there have been few successful prosecutions and convictions, Kathimerini Cyprus said of the findings.
Other countries where it has risen include Belgium – home of the European Union’s capital, Brussels – as well as Georgia, Portugal, Serbia and the United Kingdom.
All countries that have been evaluated twice by GRETA so far have indicated an upward trend in trafficking for labour exploitation in recent years, with most of them being men, the paper said, particularly as laborers in agriculture, construction and fisheries.
Women tend to be exploited in more isolated settings such as domestic or care work – where they are sometimes victims of both labor and sexual exploitation, the report said, as they often have little or no recourse but to suffer.
“Our monitoring shows that more and more people are being trafficked to work in awful conditions in Europe, both within and across national borders,” said GRETA President Siobhan Mullally, who didn’t explain why so little apparently has been done to stop it.
She added that “victims are often reluctant to come forward as they may fear deportation or retaliation from criminal trafficking networks. Prosecutions and convictions of the perpetrators are also very rare.”
“States across Europe need to work closely together with NGOs, trade unions and the private sector to help end this heinous exploitation and abuse,” Mullally noted.