The European Commission on Monday proposed to strengthen the rules that prevent and combat human trafficking.
Every year over 7,000 people become victims of human trafficking in the EU, a commission statement said, adding that the figure can be higher due to many undetected cases.
The majority of victims are women and girls but the share of male victims is also on the rise and the yearly cost of human trafficking reaches €2.7 billion ($2.86 billion).
Nothing that the forms of the exploitation have evolved with the crime increasingly taking an online dimension, the statement said: "This calls for new action at EU level, as traffickers benefit from opportunities to recruit, control, transport and exploit victims, as well as move profits and reach out to users in the EU and beyond."
The updated rules will include forced marriage and illegal adoption among types of exploitation, human trafficking offenses committed or facilitated through information and communication technologies, including internet and social media, mandatory sanctions for legal persons held accountable for trafficking offenses, stepping up demand reduction, and EU-wide annual data collection.
Once the proposal is adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, member states will have to transpose the new rules into their national law.