Exploitation of surrogacy as a minimum case of trafficking at European level


April 23th, 2024

The European Parliament includes the exploitation of surrogacy as a minimum case of human trafficking

On April 23, 2024, the European Parliament voted in favour of the revision of the Directive on combating trafficking in human beings, which includes “the exploitation of surrogacy” as a minimum case of trafficking at European level, in the same way as slavery or forced prostitution. The directive was approved by 563 votes in favour, seven votes against and 17 abstentions [Text here].

Council and European Parliament negotiators agreed to explicitly mention in the directive that the exploitation of surrogacy, forced marriage and illegal adoption are types of exploitation which fall under the scope of the definition of trafficking.

At the event hosted by the European Parliamentarian Francois Xavier BELLAMY, Olivia MAUREL, spokesperson of Casablanca Declaration and Bernard GARCIA LARRAIN, coordinator of the Casablanca Declaration, welcomed the inclusion of surrogate motherhood among the forms of human trafficking.

“This is a market in which women’s bodies are rented out and children’s lives are sold”, declared GARCIA LARRAIN, a market that “it is estimated worth 14 billion dollars worldwide”.

On the other hand, MAUREL, born by surrogacy stated that GPA puts a child before the conception in the middle of a contract, a child that will be created “only to be abandoned at birth”. The child “is ripped” from his mother, the “only person the baby will be looking for at birth” who “brought him up for 9 months” and “placed on the arms of complete strangers” denounced MAUREL.

Concerning the terms “exploitation of surrogacy”

  • As GARCIA LARRAIN said, “it is hard to see how surrogacy could not be considered exploitation”, given that the directive itself specifies that « a situation of vulnerability means that the person concerned has no real or acceptable choice but to submit to this abuse » (art. 2, 2°), which is the case for most women who undergo surrogacy.
  • Also, added LARRAIN, the directive specifies that the consent of a victim of trafficking in human beings to the exploitation is “irrelevant”.
  • On the other side, LARRAIN also considered that the fact remains that “for the child, surrogacy is always against his rights” so the Casablanca Declaration regrets the inclusion of the exception concerning surrogacy about the exploitation of children.
  • As MAUREL stated, children rights are always forgotten.

The Casablanca Declaration considers that the unique way to respect the children’s rights and women’s rights is the Abolition of Surrogacy with an International Convention. For the child, it is always against his dignity and rights. For the women, they are used and exploited even with consent. However, we rejoice that the link between surrogacy and human trafficking has finally been made official at the European level.

The Casablanca Declaration for the Abolition of Surrogacy has been signed by more than 100 experts from 75 countries around the world from different sensitivities and proposes an International Convention banning the practice of surrogacy on a global level. The Casablanca Declaration will continue therefore to fight to protect both children and their mothers from this market.

Bernard Garcia, François-Xavier Bellamy and Olivia MAUREL

at the European Parliament in Strasbourg (France)