The dysfunctional family is a common factor in all cases of human trafficking

A family based on strong values and united is less likely to have its members fall into the practices of prostitution. However, when the family does not function as it should, the unity is broken and the communication between its members is scarce then any of the members, especially the children, are very vulnerable to becoming preys of the human trafficking.

This was one of the conclusions presented by Anthony Steen, delegate of the UK government at the international conference on the 2nd of April, in the Romanian Parliamentary building in Bucharest, entitled  "Human Trafficking: a Threat to Family Values". ECPM organized this conference together with the Group Against Trafficking in Persons of the Parliament of Romania, the Ecumenical Prayer Group of the Romanian Parliament and the Federation of Catholic Family Organizations in Europe (FAFCE).
Utilization of life is present in all situations in which the strong ones use and take advantage of the weak. Human trafficking as modern-day slavery is a real problem in Europe.  In our economy we see that those who have a weaker position struggle to maintain a decent level of living. Too often people are seen as a means to an end. Poverty and the number of ‘working poor’ have reached an unprecedented level in post-war Europe. Poverty is not the only cause playing a major role in human trafficking. Broken families are at the core of this problem as there is a strong relation between human trafficking and family values.  ECPM is determined to consequently put the issue of human trafficking on the European political agenda.

The day started with discussing the problem posed by human trafficking and the possible solutions. Mihnea Cosmin Costoiu, delegate minister for higher education, scientific research and technology considers education received through religious institutions and most importantly preschool education within in the family as the best method to combat human trafficking.

Georgeta Gavrila, prefect of Bucharest drew our attention to one of the challenges globalization poses by easing this phenomenon of trafficking. She also presented the link between the family and human trafficking saying that 'The disruption in communication between parents and children, migration of one of the parents and other aspects work together to facilitate human trafficking.' Mihaela Geoana,  President of the Romanian center for missing and sexually exploited children recognizes poverty, the lack of education and the developed communication technology such as internet, as the main factors causing widespread child trafficking.

David Fieldsend, President  of the Foundation for Christian Politics in Europe (FCPE) also sees economic demand as the incentive for all forms of human trafficking. Valeriu Zgonea,  President of the chamber of deputies of the Parliament of Romania and Tamme de Leur journalist and director of MetaStory Production clearly condemned human trafficking  and called on all those listening to continue the work to combat it. De Leur showed audience a documentary made in the Netherlands on the prostitution issue 'Behind the scenes: Prostitution policies in Europe's. Frits Rouvoet is the founder of Bright Fame, an organization that works with the victims of sexual exploitation and helps them get out of the business . Rouvoet explained that the voluntary side of prostitution is not voluntary at all. Coercion doesn't exist only in the form of a pimp threatening the lives of the prostitutes. Coercion exists also in the form of stark poverty or desperation. Numerous victims with whom he talked admitted they wanted to quit but felt unable because of the vicious circle they were in.

Leo van Doesburg, in concluding, stated that the best solution proven to effectively address sexual exploitation that member states will criminalize the purchase of sex in all circumstances as well as third party sellers (consisting of pimps and traffickers). He considered that in Romania the development of strong families is important, believing that the discussions in Romania will go in a wrong direction if instead of looking for ways to strengthen families as main issue on policies, the discussions will remind on all kinds of alternative family forms.

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