Progress Report on Fight Against THB
29 November 2020
Riehle_Cornelia_Neu_SW.jpg Cornelia Riehle LL.M.

On 20 October 2020, the European Commission presented its third report on progress made in the fight against trafficking in human beings (THB). The report identifies key patterns and challenges in addressing THB, provides an analysis of statistics, and outlines the results of anti-trafficking actions. It covers the period from 2017 to 2018.

According to the report, 14,145 victims of trafficking were registered in the EU in 2017 and 2018; the actual number is likely considerably higher, however, since many victims of trafficking remain undetected. 49% of all victims were EU citizens, with more than 34% of them being trafficked in their own EU Member State. 72% of all registered victims were women and girls, mainly trafficked for sexual exploitation. Children accounted for 22% of all victims.

While sexual exploitation remains the dominant form of trafficking (60% of all victims), trafficking for labour exploitation affects 15% of all victims, the majority of them being men (68%). Other forms of trafficking include forced begging and criminality, forced and sham marriages, and even organ removal.

Given that only 2424 convictions were reported in the 2017-2018 period, but that there is a high number of registered victims in the EU, the report calls for a strong response to the impunity of the perpetrators and making trafficking a “high-risk low-profit” crime.

While the report sees progress in several areas, notably within the framework of the European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats (EMPACT-THB), it calls for further efforts to better implement Directive 2011/36 and to find new strategic approaches towards countering THB. The report is rounded off by a staff working document, a study on data collection on THB in the EU, and a factsheet.

News Guide

EU Trafficking in Human Beings


Cornelia Riehle LL.M.

Academy of European Law (ERA)

Criminal Law

Deputy Head of Section