Human trafficking and sexual slavery along the Danube

by Dr phil. Barbara Hug

 

In Budapest, October 2017 a significant declaration, initiated by the Danube Region Initiative of the city of Ulm was adopted.The social and political institutions in the Danube area as well as in the EU were called upon to take the necessary steps in the fight against human trafficking and forced prostitution.
How did this declaration come about, why did it become so necessary?
Its purpose is to identify and point out the terrible grievances concerning women-and human trafficking, which takes place geographically along the Danube.
The taboo and the looking away from the disturbing red light and prostitution milieu must come to an end.
The facts are verified and documented by the excellent analysis of the experienced former chief superintendent Manfred Paulus from Ulm. Countless journeys took him to the hot spots of women-and human trafficking, for example to Hungary, Croatia, Kosovo, Romania, Macedonia, Albania, among other countries. The Danube area can be considered as the recruitment-, transit-, and exploitation center of the “commodity man”.
Paulus points out the distress of the young women who have no other choice than to turn to prostitution because they have no other means of subsistence in their home country. The existential troubles of these women but also of their families allows the women’s traffickers to seize the opportunity. Taking note of the figures, one is really astonished. Human and drug trafficking is the third largest sector of Organized Crime in Germany, as Paulus describes. On the interfaces between the rich and the poor human beings are treated as goods. In this context Vienna plays a key role due to its geographical location.
Paulus proves his report by facts and figures for the whole Danube region. This includes: Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Ukraine. The brutal business of women-and human trafficking is operated by very well organised groups. It is easy to understand that these groups can be assigned to the Organised Crime.Roberto Scarpinato, chief prosecutor from Palermo, who is known to have deep insights and knowledge into these structures, warned Germany several times:
“The German laws date from the last century and are not helpful to fight effectively against Mafia (or Organised Crime)”.All in all, new measures are urgently needed but where has it gone – the political will?
Due to the Danube Region Initiative of the city of Ulm collective efforts and the agreement grew that something has to be done against the miserable and most brutal business with the female body.You cannot put credit upon the “European community of values” and “overlook” such severe exploitation at the same time.The political will is most important for the police force to work successfully together.This political will seems to be missing in most areas – still.    •

Paulus, Manfred. Menschenhandel und Sexsklaverei – entlang der Donau. Anwerbungsmethoden, Schleusungspraktiken, Ausbeutungsformen. (Trafficking in human beings and sexual slavery – along the Danube. Recruitment methods, smuggling practices, forms of exploitation). Klemm+Oelschläger publishing House, Ulm 2018. 163 pages, Fr. 14.90