Exploitation of surrogacy as trafficking by a draft European directive

Press release January 24, 2024

The process of adopting the Proposal for a European Directive (2022/0426(COD) amending the 2011 Directive on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings, and protecting victims(2011/36/EU) is making progress: in a press release published today (24 January), the Joint LIBE/FEMM Committee announces the fact that the informal agreement reached yesterday includes exploitation of surrogacy, as well as forced marriage and illegal adoption, within the scope of the Directive.

The Casablanca Declaration group, which is working towards the adoption of an international convention on the universal abolition of surrogacy, welcomes this announcement and feels encouraged by this plan to revise the European directive, particularly in view of the international conference to be held in Rome on 5 and 6 April (information to follow).

At last, surrogacy has been named by Europe for what it is, a new form of trafficking“, rejoices Olivia Maurel, born of surrogate motherhood and spokesperson for the Casablanca Declaration.

As for the wording itself, “exploitation of surrogacy”, Bernard Garcia, Doctor of Law and coordinator of the Declaration, comments: “the wording can be improved, but what is important is that, for the first time, a draft binding international text makes the link between surrogacy and trafficking. This is an enormous step“.

The Casablanca Group points out that the European Parliament has already identified surrogacy as a form of trafficking and exploitation of women and children on several occasions:

In a resolution of 5 April 2011 on combating violence against women, it «Asks Member States to acknowledge the serious problem of surrogacy which constitutes an exploitation of the female body and her reproductive organs » (§20) and « Emphasises that women and children are subject to the same forms of exploitation and both can be regarded as commodities on the international reproductive market, and that these new reproductive arrangements, such as surrogacy, augment the trafficking of women and children and illegal adoption across national boarders» (§ 21).

More recently, the resolution of 21 January 2021 on the European Union’s strategy for equality between men and women and that of 5 May 2022 on the impact of the war against Ukraine on women(2022/2633(RSP) recall that “sexual exploitation for surrogacy” is “unacceptable and a violation of human dignity and human rights”.