21 March 2016 10:31

Human trafficking has a gender dimension that must be addressed if the crime is to be prevented, a new study finds.

96% of those trafficked for sexual exploitation are female whereas 74% of those trafficked for labour exploitation are male

The study was conducted by Sylvia Walby, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and UNESCO Chair of Gender Research, of the Violence and Society UNESCO Centre, Lancaster University, together with 12 Lancaster and European colleagues.

This research, prepared under a contract with the European Commission, is published and launched today (21 March) in Brussels at the European Parliament.

The assistance needed by victims of trafficking is also gender specific, adds the report.  The long-term effects of trafficking for sexual exploitation, the form of trafficking most experienced by women, are different from those of trafficking for labour exploitation, more often experienced by men. 

These effects include infections, including HIV, and intimate injuries that take a long time to heal, if ever. This requires specialist, long-term services which need sustainable funding. 

The intricate innovations in criminal and civil regulations in The Netherlands, Germany and Sweden to reduce trafficking are assessed so that lessons can be learned.

“The prevention of trafficking requires policies to reduce demand for the services of those trafficked: ensuring that economic growth is ‘smart, sustainable and inclusive’ and does not ignore trafficking and its gender dimension,” says Professor Walby.

“Effective law enforcement requires sensitive engagement with victims, paying attention to their gender specific needs as well as to their human rights.” 

The measurement of trafficking needs to be standardised, developed and resourced, with consistent attention to its gender dimensions.

The launch event will be opened by Myria Vassiliadou, EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, European Commission and has contributions by Catherine Bearder, who, as a Member of European Parliament, is proposing a Resolution on trafficking; Ambassador Mara Marinaki, European External Action Service; and Dragmar Schumacher, Director UN Women Brussels Office.

Study on the Gender Dimension of Trafficking in Human Beings.  ISBN 978-92-79-54062-2; doi:10.2837/462884.