Welcome to the interviews section.
Here you will find interviews to EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom, the EU anti-trafficking Coordinator Myria Vassiliadou, and anti-trafficking experts.
The interviews give an inside perspective on how the EU Instituitions work together to stop human trafficking.
In article published on the Autumn 2012 issue of “Links, the magazine of the Council of British Chambers of Commerce”, Myria Vassiliadou, the EU Anti-trafficking Coordinator announces that the Commission will establish a European Business Coalition for addressing trafficking in human beings by 2014.
This coalition responds to the requests of many stakeholders, who emphasised the need to create partnerships with all actors, including the private sector, and to raise awareness and promoting practices reducing demand.
In particular, the Commission intends to work together with the Coalition to develop models and guideline on reducing the demand for services provided by victims of trafficking in human beings, in particular in high-risk areas, including the sex industry, agriculture, construction and tourism.
In an interview published on the new issue of Austrian Der Standard, the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, Myria Vassiliadou, stresses that the EU is planning to take decisive action for addressing trafficking in human beings by means of a new Directive that is to be transposed by Member States by April 2013 and a Strategy for 2012-2016. Focus is placed on victims, assistance, support and protection.
Read the original: Der Standard.at
EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, Myria Vassiliadou, on Cyprus Broadcasting Cooperation
To mark the 6th EU Anti-Trafficking Day, the Cyprus EU Presidency and the European Commission are organising a high level conference in Brussels on 18 October 2012.
The conference 'Working together towards the eradication of trafficking in human beings: The Way Forward' will focus on the recently adopted EU Strategy on Trafficking in Human Beings. It aims to serve as a forum for exchange of views on shaping future actions to strengthen cooperation, victim protection and assistance, prevention and prosecution in the field of trafficking in human beings.
Rosie Charalambous spoke to the EU's Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, Myria Vassiliadou, about the issue of trafficking, and asked her what her priorities were.
Cecilia Malmström on addressing trafficking in human beings: Interview for Cyprus Broadcasting Cooperation
Slavery was, in theory, abolished many years ago, but in the modern age, every year, hundreds of thousands of people are trafficked into the EU or within the EU.
Vulnerable women and men, boys and girls are traded - mostly for sexual exploitation, but also for forced labour, the removal of organs, for domestic servitude, forced marriage, begging, stealing and illegal adoption.
Embarrassingly, Cyprus, the current holder of the rotating EU Presidency, is one of the only European member states to still feature on the the US State Department's "Watch List", whose report for 2012 stated: "The Government of Cyprus does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Despite these efforts, the government failed to demonstrate evidence of increasing efforts to address human trafficking over the previous reporting period; therefore, Cyprus is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for the second consecutive year".
The EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, says co-ordinated initiatives are needed to efficiently address this appalling phenomenon. Following the appointment of the EU Anti-trafficking Coordinator and the entry into force of the new EU Directive on trafficking in human beings, the Commission has adopted the EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings (2012-2016), a set of concrete and practical measures that must be implemented in all member states.
The Commissioner spoke to Rosie Charalambous about the measures that she hopes will be incorporated across the European bloc to eradicate this shameful practice.
EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström
Cecilia Malmström is the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs and in charge of designing a European response to the crimes of trafficking in human beings. She firmly underlines the need for action: "This is modern slavery. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people are being lured, forced, or threatened into a life of misery within the EU. It is our duty to do our utmost to help the victims, and to fight these criminals who are making profit on other people's misery."
15 December 2010, Brussels
Current EU initiatives to combat human trafficking
When Cecilia Malmström took office in the beginning of 2010, one of the first things that she did was to propose a Directive that would sharpen the EU's tools against trafficking in human beings from three angles: prevention, protection of the victims, and prosecution of the criminals. The European Parliament just voted in favour of the proposal, with a strong majority.
- This shows the broad political agreement in Europe that we need to do more to fight trafficking in human beings. Our recent appointment of Myria Vassiliadou as the European Anti-Trafficking Coordinator will even further strengthen our ambitions in tackling this horrible crime.
- Going after the money is one way of fighting the criminals who make a profit on other people's suffering. Because unfortunately trafficking in human beings is very lucrative. It is in fact the second most profitable "business" for organised crime networks in Europe today. A month ago, I presented an action-oriented Internal Security Strategy for the EU, where we propose action on confiscating the assets of criminal networks. . By removing the financial incentive, I hope that we can hurt their criminal activity and make this awful crime less attractive.
- I will also continue to explore how to develop our work further. I think we can do much more on identifying victims at an early stage, on working more closely with third countries, on strengthening our work against labour exploitation as well as taking measures to reduce the demand for human trafficking.
Main partners for the Commission in combating this crime
The main partners of the Commission within the EU are the Member States, who through the work of police and judicial authorities are responsible for the operational work on their territories. The Commission also cooperates closely with the United Nations and other international organisations.
- If we are to succeed in targeting, and harming, the trafficking business, cooperation is absolutely crucial. I want us to increase our work with non-governmental organisations and civil society.
- We must also deepen our cooperation with countries outside the Union in order to tackle the root of the problem, which often lies in poverty and under-development.
Obstacles within the EU
Trafficking in human beings is very much a cross-border crime. This makes it important to work on an EU level, but there are nonetheless many practical obstacles to overcome when establishing good cooperation between law enforcement authorities in different countries.
- We are working on strengthening cross-border judicial and law enforcement coordination, but much remains to be done. I hope that we will soon get final adoption of the Directive that the Parliament endorsed, so that the trafficking legislation will be harmonised across Member States.
- Another obstacle is the lack of comparable statistics. It lies in the nature of this crime that much is going on in the dark. This is something we work on so that we can get a better picture of the scope of this criminal activity.
Finally, when your mandate is over in 2014, what do you hope to have achieved in the fight against trafficking?
- Fighting this type of modern slavery is one of my key priorities during my mandate as Commissioner for Home Affairs. I will do all that I can to raise awareness and to increase action on all levels to fight this lucrative criminal business.
- I carry no illusion of a crushing victory in the fight against trafficking in human beings, and no hope of totally eradicating this horrendous crime. But I will do all in my power to make life hard for the criminals. Every life saved from abuse is a victory.
EU Anti Trafficking Coordinator visit to Poland
Myria Vassiliadou, EU Anti Trafficking Coordinator, visited Poland on the 13th and 14th of March.
The EU ATC met with representatives of governmental and non-governmental bodies in the field of addressing trafficking in human beings.
See below selected highlights from her visit, courtesy of the European Commission Representation in Poland.
Full article (in PL): http://ec.europa.eu/polska/news/140314_handel_pl.htm
EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator interview on Deutschlandfunk
In an interview with Deutschlandfunk, the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator Myria Vassiliadou speaks about trafficking in human beings and the "EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings 2012-2016".
Language of the interview: German