The report, Criminal Networks Involved in the Trafficking and Exploitation of Underage Victims in the European Union analyses data from Europol’s action against child trafficking between 2015 – 2017. The importance of this analysis into child trafficking reflects minors being an extremely vulnerable sector of society. Children are often lured into labour or sexual exploitation, and as a result suffer severe physical and psychological damage. This report provides key information that highlights limitations in current systems, that can be used to create a strategy against future trafficking of children.
Key findings from the report:
- Child trafficking in the EU Trafficking and exploitation of male minors (especially for sexual exploitation) still remains an under-reported phenomenon at EU level.
- Traffickers active in the EU target underage victims mainly for sexual exploitation but also labour exploitation, to beg and to commit criminal acts, such as pickpocketing and shoplifting. Children are also trafficked for illegal adoption and sham marriages.
- Children are trafficked from around the world to the EU. The majority of nonEU networks reported to Europol involved Nigerian OCGs which traffic female minors and women to be sexually exploited. The OCGs are spread along the entire trafficking route and operate in several EU Member States.
- The majority of EU trafficking networks for child sexual exploitation reported to Europol are small in size (usually fewer than five key suspects) and active in one country at a time.
- Particularly harmful EU networks are large family clans which mainly traffic children for the purpose of begging, forced criminality and sexual exploitation. These clans operate in several countries at the same time and rotate victims on a regular basis.
- Children in migration and unaccompanied minors are at higher risk of trafficking and exploitation. Although the scale of trafficking of unaccompanied minors remains unknown, a future increase is expected.
For the full report Criminal Networks Involved in the Trafficking and Exploitation of Underage Victims in the European Union, October 2018, read here.