Speaking in a debate in the European Parliament on the Roma community in member states, Catherine Bearder choose to remind the Commission of the scale of human trafficking that exists within the community and that this cannot be tackled until they are fully welcomed into the European family.
In her speech, Catherine said: "I want to draw attention to the topic of human trafficking within the Roma Community.
The poverty of the Roma and the fact that they are marginalised, directly feed into the trafficking of large numbers of their population around Europe.
This begins a cycle of crime that continues with trafficked victims used for crimes ranging from pick-pocketing, prostitution and large-scale benefit fraud.
The scale of this problem was highlighted by the EU Joint Investigation, Operation Golf. A raid on just ONE Roma village last year saw the arrest of 26 people responsible for the trafficking of 272 Roma children - from just one village!
The sooner the Roma community are accepted and welcomed fully into their communities and given opportunities to become financial participants in society, the sooner they will be able to resist the predatory behaviour of the gangs that traffic them. The EU has much to do and a duty to ensure their rights are upheld."