Sunday, February 18   Sign in or Register
Evangelical Focus

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud

Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.

Is the sexual exploitation of women an issue in your city?



EU Anti-Trafficking Day

Don’t shut your eyes!

509,980 is the number of people forced into labour in the EU. That’s more people than those living in Toulouse. Or Liverpool. Or Gdansk. Or Antwerp.

WINDOW ON EUROPE AUTHOR Jeff Fountain 18 OCTOBER 2016 09:52 h GMT+1
An image of the European Freedom Network campaign: Don't Shut Your Eyes.

Today, Tuesday 18 October, is EU Anti-Trafficking Day.

Here are some facts to wake us up.

(Warning: this will be far more offensive than anything Donald Trump has ever said!)

2,999,882 – Number of people trafficked in the EU.

That’s more than the population of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague put together. Imagine that for a second.

2,279,910 – Number of people forced into prostitution in the EU.

Again that’s about the combined population of Cologne and Munich. Let it sink in.

509,980 – Number of people forced into labour in the EU.

That’s more people than those living in Toulouse. Or Liverpool. Or Gdansk. Or Antwerp.

89,997 –  Number of people forced into begging in the EU. 

This is in our Europe today. In 2016. Under our noses. Before our very eyes. In our cities. Maybe even in our street, or next door.

So where do these figures come from? How can they be so exact? And what time framework are talking about?

Good questions. I asked them myself. They come from the Eurostat 2010-2012 survey of 17 EU Member States. So they’re probably out of date now and too low. But they may be the best data we have. They are quoted by the European Freedom Network (a growing network of hundreds of Christian projects engaged in combatting exploitation) to open our eyes to the fact that human trafficking is happening all around us.

Julia and Jennifer are two key figures in this network. I’ve worked with them on various projects in the past. They ask us to help them in a very quick and simple way.

Go to their special website and you will find a 100 second film, unsettling and powerful.

Take 100 seconds to watch the film, then check out the website to learn how to spot human trafficking and what to do if you are suspicious. You’ll find action ideas for everyone, with prayer points and action ideas for churches too.


For example, we read there that there are different types of human trafficking. Human trafficking and other forms of exploitation are all around us. Victims may be washing your car, painting your nails, picking your food, repairing your home, begging, working in prostitution or posing in the pornographic photo.

Three out of four trafficking victims are involved in sexual exploitation (prostitution, massage parlours, pornography, strip clubs etc.). The vast majority are female. One in seven are children.

Where prostitution is legal, that does not mean that trafficking is not going on. Dutch police estimate that 50-90% people working in prostitution in the Netherlands are coerced. Having correct legal papers does not mean all is OK.

People working in the so called ‘sex industry’ may not be trafficked in the strict sense of the word but they are still exploited. The majority of sex workers do not have free choice but are compelled by such things as poverty, addiction, an abusive relationship, debt or even black magic curses.

Healthcare workers have a particular role to play in spotting abuse. Is a patient coming for treatment with a ‘friend’ who appears to be controlling them?  Is a patient requesting repeated abortions? Does someone who is pregnant or has recently given birth still want to carry on working in ‘sex work’?

Some trafficking victims are forced to beg. They must hand over the money they receive to a minder. Look out especially for children begging when you know they should be in school. Is it possible for you to get into conversation with the person begging or take them for a drink? Or does a minder intervene to stop you? Be highly suspicious if this happens.

Other trafficking victims are forced labourers. Most of the victims are men or boys. They might be working in agriculture, construction, hotels, catering, textiles, car washing, care, domestic service, fishing etc., etc.



It’s time to get informed, stay informed and tell your friends and colleagues.

It’s time to watch for trafficking news in the media, to cheer when the authorities get it rightand to demand improvement when they get it wrong.

It’s time to lobby your politicians, police, judges and media that human trafficking must be stopped.

It’s time to demand proper investigation and punishment of trafficking crimes.

It’s time to demand compassionate, well-resourced care for trafficking victims.

It’s time to demand that vulnerable children and families get the support they need so that they don’t end up in human trafficking situations.

It’s time to think about what goods and services we purchase, to commit to avoiding the black economy and, if we possibly can, to buy from particularly ethical companies.

Okay, so now we know. Don’t shut your eyes. 

Jeff Fountain is Director of the Schuman Centre for European Studies, and speaks on issues facing Christians today in Europe. He writes at Weekly Word.




    If you want to comment, or


YOUR ARE AT: - - - Don’t shut your eyes!
Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe

The economist summarises the manifesto “Confederal Europe: Strong Nations, Strong Union” and explains why personal relationships should be at the centre of our economy, education and democracy. 

Gary Wilkerson: The Bible, the Holy Spirit and the Reformation Gary Wilkerson: The Bible, the Holy Spirit and the Reformation

Pastor Gary Wilkerson talks about what all evangelical Christians can learn from the Protestant Reformation and underlines the need for more churches with both a sound doctrine and obedience to the Holy Spirit.

Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe

Is the arrival of thousands of Muslims to Europe a threat to Christianity? What is the growth of evangelical churches in Eastern and Southern Europe? An interview with theologian and Lausanne Movement representative Lindsay Brown.

Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission

“We want to see the youth not just being equipped, but also being multipliers”, Evi Rodemann director of Mission-Net. The European Congress took place in Germany from December 28 to January 2.

'Ungi kulimi changana' 'Ungi kulimi changana'

Educator and journalist Jordi Torrents shares images of the Sekeleka social centre in Mozambique. About 50 children live there, many with some kind of disability. All photos were taken with permission.

The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve

For the first time, the President of Portugal attended a worship service in an evangelical church. It was in Sintra, on Christmas Eve.

Lausanne younger leaders gathering in Budapest Lausanne younger leaders gathering in Budapest

About 70 people from European countries met at the Younger Leaders Gen gathering in Hungary (19-22 October) to discuss the challenges of the church in the continent and build partnerships. Photos: Evi Rodemann and Jari Sippola.

I am not on sale I am not on sale

Young Christians gathered at Madrid’s central square Sol to denounce human trafficking. A flashmob highlighted the work of three evangelical NGOs which support women who escape sexual slavery in Spain.

Stamps to commemorate the Reformation Stamps to commemorate the Reformation

Poland, Lithuania, Namibia and Brazil are some of the countries that have issued special stamps on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 theses.

A marriage story A marriage story

The  great love story for everyone.

Be safe on social media Be safe on social media

A video about the way traffickers target teenage girls online, produced by anti-slavery gorup Abolishion.

In Mission In Mission

A 360º lyric video about how all followers of Jesus Christ are called to serve God. Duo in Spanish (Alex Sampedro) and Portuguese (Marcos Martins).

Heart Heart

A short animation film by Swiss cartoonist Alain Auderset tells the message of the Bible in four minutes.

Creation Care and the Gospel, in France Creation Care and the Gospel, in France

The conference drew about 90 delegates from across Europe. Scientists, theologians, activists reflected together on the theme “God’s Word and God’s World”.

Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube

EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.