[Romania] Human trafficking in Romania: an integrated approach needed in the era of open borders

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05 Nov 2019

The number of human trafficking cases is continuously growing in the EU. Recently the case of the Romanian fifteen-year-old Alexandra Macesanu went around the international press. She was attacked and kidnapped in last summer and although she had called the emergency number three times, the police started to look for her only many hours later. In their opinion piece Elena Petrescu (delegations coordinator of IAPSS) and Yannis Karamitsios (co-founder of Alliance 4 Europe) suggest the case of the young girl should turn our attention to the disruptive emergency system and the ‘the severity of broad human trafficking networks operating in and from Romanian territories.'

According to the ANITP’s (National Agency against Trafficking in Persons of Romania) report on human trafficking in the last year, the number of registered victims of human trafficking in Romania was 497. Most of the victims are young women and they come from socially disadvantaged environment. The European Commission's report on Trafficking in Human Beings in the European Union shows similar results: the top member states of citizenship of registered victims in 2015 and 2016 were Romania, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland and Bulgaria.

Some critics claim the open internal borders of the EU play a huge role in the growing number of human trafficking. However, Petrescu and Karamitsios are on an opposite view. According to the authors with joint actions nations can act more effectively against human trafficking and positive changes can be reached. To prove their views they mention in the article the large-scale joint action of Europol carried out by 23 countries in last September. Through the operation more than 124 000 individuals and more than 29 000 vehicles were checked and finally 111 investigations were opened and 41 suspects were arrested. Petrescu and Karamitsios suggest operations like Europol’s ‘bring results that could not be achieved at the national level alone.’

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