The price of a cheap second hand car or a new smart phone – that is how much a sex slave will cost in Europe, as one self-confessed former people trafficker tells ‘On the Frontline’.
‘‘It’s very simple [to buy someone]. I’ll bring you a chick now. Of course you have to play your role as a buyer. You’re a rich guy from god knows where. The stupid girl will take the bait in three seconds. You wrap her up, you take her with you and then it’s up to you. After all you are in your country aren’t you,’‘ he says.
But how big is the problem and what measures are in place in the Europe-wide fight to stamp out the sex slave trade?
The latest figures show that more than 30,000 victims were reported between 2010 and 2012, however most experts believe that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Eastern Europe, notably Romania and Bulgaria, remain two of the main source countries for trafficked victims inside the EU.
Iana Matei, the Director of Reaching out Romania, an NGO which helps trafficked girls, tells the programme they are always one step behind the people running this trade. She also says corruption at a state-level makes investigating this type of crime more complicated.
‘‘You have politicians involved in trafficking, and my question is how can a police officer investigate a case if the phone [call] that he receives from his boss says stop there.’‘
But Romania’s National Rapporteur for Human Trafficking, Romulus Ungureanu, is adamant Romanian authorities are doing a lot to crack down on the traffickers, claiming: ‘‘In Romania the crime of trafficking is heavily punished. The level and number of convictions in Romania is one of the highest in the European Union.’‘
He also points to the demand in other parts of Europe as fuelling the supply of trafficked persons.
In addition to Iana Matei, Myrai Vassiliadou, the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator and Glyn Lewis Director of Specialised Crime and Analysis at INTERPOL, joined euronews’ Paul Hackett to debate the issue of the sex slave trade in Europe.
To watch the full programme click on the player above