Commission launches EU Civil Society Platform against trafficking in human beings
Europe needs to work closer together to help the victims of today's slavery. On 31 May 2013, over 100 European civil society organisations joined forces in the new EU Civil Society Platform against trafficking in human beings. The Europe-wide Platform, set up by the European Commission, will serve as a forum for civil society organisations working at European, national and local levels, in the field of human rights, children's rights, women's rights and gender equality, migrants' rights and shelters. Participants exchanged experiences and concrete ideas on how to best assist victims, expand their networks, and prevent others from falling victims to this crime.
"The role of civil society is key in preventing trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims. Professionals and volonteers working on anti-trafficking issues, and directly with victims, can learn a lot from each other and can help us define concrete policies to fight this hideous crime. The Platform will ensure that they receive the necessary support, from the EU and from each other, and that their knowledge is spread across Europe. We also hope to benefit from their knowledge in developing further EU policies ", said EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström.
The Commission will support the Platform by organising regular meetings for participants, to gather crucial, up-to-date information and feedback on the main challenges that civil society organisations are facing on the ground. A second meeting of the Platform is provisionally scheduled for the autumn of 2013. The Commission is also looking at how to facilitate online communication within the platform.
Commissioner Malmström opened the launching event of the Platform, which was chaired by EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator Myria Vassiliadou and included a panel of speakers from several EU Institutions and Agencies.
During this first meeting, participants reflected on the policy priorities and future activities of the Platform, including possible awareness-raising activities, and ways to involve organisations based in countries outside the EU. They will also share and discuss good practices in tackling the recruitment of victims of trafficking and addressing demand on line.
For a full list of the organisations participating from each EU country.
Working towards the elimination of trafficking in human beings cannot be achieved without a strong cooperation across the EU and beyond.
At EU level, the EU Anti-Trafficking Directive focuses on preventing the crime, protecting the victims, prosecuting the traffickers. It covers actions in areas such as criminal law provisions, prosecution of offenders, victims' support, victims' rights in criminal proceedings, prevention and monitoring of the implementation and establishing partnerships in particular with civil society. The EU Directive takes a human rights based approach that is gender-specific and centres on the victims and the best interests of the child. To date, only 9 countries have fully transposed the directive (Czech Republic, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Finland) and 4 countries have partially transposed (Belgium, Bulgaria, Slovenia and UK).
At a time when growing numbers of victims are being identified in the EU (and MEMO/13/331), the 2012 EU Strategy sets out 40 concrete initiatives, including strengthening the role of civil society. The establishment of an EU Platform of civil society organisations in Member States is one of these concrete actions.
In March 2013, the Commission invited organisations to apply for the participation in the Platform. The final selection addressed the need to ensure geographical balance and the diversity of areas of expertise, and current involvement at EU level.
Additionally, the Commission will continue to work on carrying out the anti-trafficking strategy, with the help of Member States, NGOs, and other stakeholders.
TagsChildren, EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, Commission, NGO and Civil Society, Human rights, Gender, Victims, Prevention