Roma people are more exposed to trafficking and exploitation

EPP Group MEP Lívia Járóka held a discussion with Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs on the rapidly expanding problem of human trafficking and exploitation, and the increased vulnerability of Roma communities.

Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs held a discussion with MEP Lívia Járóka (Fidesz), Rapporteur of the report on the Gender Aspects of the EU Framework for National Roma Inclusion Strategies. Malmström and Járóka agreed that trafficking and exploitation emerges in close connection with marginalization and extreme poverty and therefore affects Roma women and children disproportionately. Járóka emphasized that there are no specific Roma vulnerability factors and the high victimization rate of Roma women is rooted in ethnic and gender discrimination, low educational level, unemployment, domestic violence, homelessness and growing up in state care.

Járóka reminded that less than one quarter of Roma victims get in contact with the authorities, because the victims are afraid of retaliation or the punishment for the crimes they committed. She therefore welcomed the 'impunity clause' of EU Directive 2011/36 on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings, according to which victims are not punishable for the illegal acts they committed while being forced by their traffickers. In the course of their negotiation, Malmström and Járóka also touched upon specific policy recommendations, for instance regarding social rehabilitation programmes for victims, the multi-disciplinary training of specialists, awareness-raising campaigns targeting at-risk groups, and setting up emergency services for the victims.