Member of the European Parliament
Chairperson of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Equal Opportunities

Committee on Women's Rights and Equal Opportunities

The Consequences of the Sex Industry in the European Union

Brussels, 19.01.2004



Introductory remarks


         The globalisation of the economy has not only applied to the classic sectors of economic activities: crime has also followed these tendencies and has profited from the opening-up of markets worldwide. The same is seen in prostitution, which currently has overblown the margins of local, restricted markets, at the edge between legality and crime and has profited from the globalised exchanges not only for the movement of services but also for the expansion of this trade. Offer and demand acknowledge no set frontiers not only for the illegal aspects of trafficking and drug-dealing and other related crimes but also for the research of various forms of prostitution from the users of these services. The same applies to pornography, which has become not only aggressive, but also clearly illegal in its efforts to surpass all impediments and provide the widest range of services possible or impossible.


           These two forms of dealing in human bodies represent a serious amount of worldwide exchanges and the income thus generated comes only second to the money from trading in arms. At the same time, no single government has the means to fight against this trade, in view of its widespread connections. However, the expansion and the new forms of the trade in human flesh is now such, that a serious effort has to be undertaken to protect society and the victims from the organised crime, which prostitution and pornography have now become.


          Our Committee with this public hearing opens the dialogue on this burning issue.