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Scandinavian Human Dignity Award 2014

José Mendes Bota, Scandinavian Human Dignity Award Winner 2014Council of Europe Rapporteur José Mendes Bota received the Scandinavian Human Dignity Award at a seminar on human trafficking in the European Parliament in Brussels

José Mendes Bota, the Council of Europe´s Rapporteur on violence against women, was the keynote speaker at the seminar on trafficking in the European Parliament in Brussels where he presented his report entitled “Prostitution, Trafficking and Modern Slavery in Europe.”

Human trafficking constitutes a flagrant violation of human rights and is one of the most lucrative activities of criminal organizations worldwide. Trafficking occurs for various purposes, including forced labor, but in Europe, trafficking for sexual purposes is by far the most widespread form. An estimated 84% of all victims of trafficking are exploited for sexual purposes“, Mr Mendes Bota said, during the seminar.

During the seminar Mr José Mendes Bota was granted the Scandinavian Human Dignity Award for his efforts to combat human trafficking in Europe. Scandinavian Human Dignity Award is presented to an individual or organization that has made a special and honorable contribution to strengthen human dignity and human rights.

I am very honored to receive this year’s Scandinavian Human Dignity Award. On my fact finding visit to Sweden preparing for the Council of Europe report on trafficking, I met a number of authorities, stakeholders and organizations, including the Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers. I also met with Mrs Ruth Nordstrom at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg before the end of the writing of the report, and we compared the Swedish model with the situation in other European countries. There is a clear link between prostitution and trafficking in persons and prohibiting the purchase of sexual services is an important tool for combating human trafficking.

We are very pleased to organize the seminar on trafficking in the European Parliament and grant Mr José Mendes Bota this year’s Scandinavian Human Dignity Award. His efforts to promote women’s rights and combating trafficking are very honorable“, says Ruth Nordstrom, president of the Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers.

During the seminar on trafficking and human trafficking, Branislav Škripek, MEP from Slovakia, stated that Slovakia is one of many transit countries for trafficking victims and pointed out the importance of European coordinated actions to combat human trafficking.

Tamme de Leur, journalist and documentary filmmaker, attended the seminar and showed parts from one of his well-known documentary films about the sex trade in Europe where he compared the situation concerning prostitution and trafficking in Sweden and the Netherlands. The documentary has previously been shown on Swedish television.

Ian Forrester, Partner and Global Pro Bono Practice Leader at the law firm White & Case presented the global database of human trafficking cases that White & Case helped develop for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). He stressed the importance of taking legal action in several areas to combat these crimes.

Leo van Doesburg, leader of the European Christian Political Movement, compared the situation in the Netherlands and Sweden and underlined that the Swedish model, prohibiting the purchase of sexual services, has inspired similar legislation in several European countries.


Read the speech: Speech by Mr. Mendes Bota at the seminar about “Trafficking”, Brussels, European Parliament, 18th November 2014


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