Recession for Gender Equality in Europe

The economy of European countries after the financial crisis of 2008 is in recession or depression.  A rising unemployment and reduced welfare is affecting more and more social groups. Another effect of the still ongoing economic crisis is that the evolution of gender equality between men and women declines or stagnates. In the countries hardest hit we find clear indications that women, young people and migrants is at risk of trafficking and prostitution. European NGO’s will through their umbrella organization Aretusa jointly highlight various facts about the recession’s negative impact on gender development in Europe.

Member associations of  Aretusa will jointly focus on three priority areas and challenges;

• The risk that gender issues are forgotten when the European countries and institutions focusing on community and national efforts to address and combat the current economic crisis.

• The need for continued cooperation and transnational partnerships at European level to support social efforts to promote and protect women’s rights.

• The need for increased awareness and strengthened efforts at European and national level to further develop equality policies and ensure effective protection measures for trafficking victims at the local level.

A starting point for our work together will be The EU Directive 2011/36/EU on Preventing and combating trafficking. Through joint seminars and national meetings of the member organizations we will work out concrete measures on how the EU, its Member States and candidate countries can:

  • Ensure the continued effective management of the economic crisis without the risk that the aspect of gender equality is forgotten or resisted
  • Strengthen and develop the protection of people affected by or vulnerable to trafficking
  • Increase awareness and the need to develop the work against discrimination on multiple grounds

Support the activities of non-profit organisations working for the promotion of gender equality according to EU standards.

For further information contact:


BalticFem: Lars Bäck, 

Open letter to the French government

Open letter to the French government and French embassies in Europe

A Call to the French presidency on its action to liberate Europe from sex slavery?

”What has the French presidency done during the second half of 2008 to challenge the demand for sexual slavery in Europe?”

This is the question every citizen of Europe should ask after looking at the official program for all ministerial and expert meetings that have been arranged during the French presidency.
We, 17 non-governmental organizations, NGO’s, across Europe from 14 Member States, cannot find any evidence of any ambition to place this modern form of slavery in the public agenda.

Aretusa takes a new step forward

The network Aretusa was formally formed in 2007 by a number of nongoverment organizations within EU member countries to work jointly with combat sex trafficking and prostitution. Aretusa currently consists of 18 organizations from 15 EU Member States, one of the member organizations of the network is the Baltic Fem, City of Norrtalje, Sweden.
Right now in Aretusa a preparatory work is ongoing to shape a joint opinion campaign in 2009 with a focus on demand. The aim is to highlight the so-called purchasers of sex their responsibility and role in international trafficking and domestic prostitution.
Within Aretusa the member organizations at a number of working meetings during the autumn of 2008 has to work out the document and the actionplan for a coordinated campaign work in 2009. More information in Swedish and English will be published continuously on the Baltic Fem website.


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