Health-care needs of trafficked women are being neglected

June 15, 2006

Governments should be providing health care, shelter, and counselling for women who are trafficked, states an Editorial in this week's issue of The Lancet.

International campaign groups have warned of steep rises in the numbers of women trafficked into Germany during the World Cup. Germany is already the main destination for trafficking of women in Europe, with an estimated 10 000 women arriving every year. However, rather than treating these women as individuals in need of support, the German government is denying them health services and frequently subjecting them to immediate detention and deportation, where they are viewed as illegal immigrants who have committed a crime.

The Lancet comments: "To improve the lives of women already damaged by abuse, it is crucial that authorities recognise trafficking as a health issue. Legal instruments are of course necessary to bring to justice the perpetrators of trafficking but so too is appropriate care for the victims--who, with the necessary support, can provide vital evidence against their exploiters."
Contact: The Lancet press office T) +44 (0) 207 424 4949/4249


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