Poverty and economic problems have led to an increasing number of women and girls being forced into prostitution. In my report adopted today by the Women’s Rights Committee I call for measures to reduce prostitution by criminalising sex buyers, and Europe-wide awareness-raising campaigns and prevention strategies, especially for socially-excluded, vulnerable and poor females.
I am pleased the Women’s Committee voted through my report on sexual exploitation and prostitution, and its impact on gender equality. It is good that the Committee has come together to state its position on this growing phenomenon, at a time when a number of member states are considering how to reduce it.
My report, approved by 14 votes to 2 with 6 abstentions, stresses the need to reduce prostitution and trafficking and to help victims of sexual exploitation to reintegrate again into society. Education should play an important role to prevent prostitution.
Reducing the demand for prostitution
My colleagues in the Women’s Rights Committee and I agree that the best way to combat the trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation is the so-called Nordic model, which criminalises sex buyers and not the prostitutes. This model views prostitution as a violation of women’s human rights and as a form of violence against women. My report calls on member states to take the Nordic model as a reference.
Prostitution linked to human trafficking and sexual exploitation
My report highlights that prostitution feeds human trafficking. According to Commission data, 62% of humans are trafficked for sexual exploitation and 96% of the identified and presumed victims are women and girls.
EU countries should therefore strengthen policies to combat human trafficking, and provide social services for victims and help women leave prostitution.
Poverty and desperation
My report calls on national authorities to help prostituted women to find alternative ways to earn money other than prostitution and to put exit programmes in place.
Prostitution and exploitation can damage the health of women in prostitution, and cause physical or psychological trauma or alcohol and drug addiction, especially in children and adolescents.
I call on member states to tackle the on-going economic and social crisis which, in some cases, forces women, men and children into prostitution and to support women who want to get out of prostitution.
I also call for member states to ensure different sectors, such as NGOs, the police, judicial, medical and social services, work effectively together.