Together Against Trafficking in Human Beings

EU Legislation

EU Legislation

EU legislation provides for various instruments on addressing trafficking in human beings.

The EU Foreign Ministers have adopted the revised EU Guidelines on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Child - Leave no Child Behind.

Children have the potential to be the greatest agents of change and sustainable development in their communities and in their countries. They are the leaders of tomorrow. The EU will continue to stand up for the rights of every child to reach their full potential in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols.

These Guidelines set out the EU's overarching strategy to strengthen efforts to ensure every child, in particular, the most marginalised, is reached by EU policies and actions.

To achieve this aim the Guidelines promote a systems-strengthening approach which identifies all the necessary measures, structures and actors which need to be in place to protect all the rights of all children. The importance of a rights-based approach, encompassing all human rights, and how it can be operationalised is also underlined.  

 

STRASBOURG 30/03/2017

In its 6th General Report, the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) highlights important gaps in the prevention of trafficking in children and in the identification and protection of child victims of trafficking.

The report shows that 4,361 children were identified as victims of trafficking in just 12 European countries between 2012 and 2015. On average, children represent a quarter of the identified victims of human trafficking, but there are important variations between countries. Children are being trafficked transnationally, as well as internally, for different forms of exploitation (sexual exploitation, forced labour, domestic servitude, forced begging, forced criminal activities or forced marriage).

GRETA expresses concern that significant numbers of unaccompanied children go missing shortly after being placed in reception centres, which exposes them to further risks of trafficking and exploitation.

Examples of good practice from different countries are also outlined in the report. These include targeted awareness-raising projects, mobile units set up to detect vulnerable children and specialised centres supporting child victims of trafficking.

The annual report summarises GRETA’s monitoring work over the last year. It also gives examples of positive changes which the Council of Europe Anti-Trafficking Convention has helped to bring about.

The Seasonal Workers Directive (2014/36/EU) sets the conditions of entry and stay of third-country nationals for the purpose of employment as seasonal workers.

The Directive rules governing working conditions aim to prevent exploitation and protect the health and safety of non-EU seasonal workers. 

The final evaluation marks the completion of a five-year-long exercise which allowed to identify the main challenges stemming from investigation and prosecution of THB cases from a judicial cooperation perspective while proposing solutions to overcome them.

 

Covering the 2015-2016 period, this edition provides an overview of developments in IOM-EU cooperation, facts & figures, where and what we work on together around the world, a special focus on our activities to address the five priority domains of the Valletta Summit commitments, and reflection on our shared priorities for 2017 and beyond

Perspectives and experiences of children involved in judicial proceedings as victims, witnesses or parties in nine EU Member States.

FRA, February 2017, 128 pages


Around 2.5 million children participate in judicial proceedings across the European Union (EU) every year, affected by parental divorce or as victims of, or witnesses to, crime. Although their effective participation in such proceedings is vital for improving the operation of justice, the treatment of children in justice systems remains a concern. FRA investigated to what extent children’s rights to be heard, to be informed, to be protected, and to non-discrimination are fulfilled in practice.

GRETA(2016)29, 30.01.2017, 26 pages

The Council of Europe Group of experts against human trafficking ( GRETA) has published today a report on the implementation of the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings by Italy. The report assesses the specific situation of forced returns of victims of trafficking from Italy and the identification of victims of trafficking among asylum seekers and migrants. 

The 2016 UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons is the third of its kind mandated by the General Assembly through the 2010 United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons. It covers 136 countries and provides an overview of patterns and flows of trafficking in persons at global, regional and national levels, based primarily on trafficking cases detected between 2012 and 2014. As UNODC has been systematically collecting data on trafficking in persons for more than a decade, trend information is presented for a broad range of indicators.

The thematic chapter of the 2016 edition of the Global Report looks at how migrants and refugees can be vulnerable to trafficking in persons, en route or at destination. It also analyses the particular condition of people escaping war, conflict and persecution.

Most countries have passed legislation that criminalizes trafficking in persons as a specific offence; many have done so recently. The Global Report shows that there is a relation between how long a country has had proper trafficking legislation on its books, and how many convictions it reports. Countries with longer-standing legislation record, on average, more convictions. That said, the overall criminal justice response to trafficking in persons, which has historically been very weak, has not improved significantly. 

 

"This is not a European Commission publication. The European Commission is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Commission, the European Union or its Member States".

 

The European Commission has adopted today two Reports on the prevention and combating of trafficking in human beings and the protection of victims of trafficking. This Report responds to the requirements of Article 23 of the Directive and aims to effectively promote the objectives of the Directive.

The 'Report on the extent to which the Member States have taken the necessary measures to comply with the Directive' indicates that, despite substantial efforts undertaken in this field, EU Member States still need to step up their efforts in addressing trafficking in human beings. There still remains significant room for improvement, in particular: specific child protection measures, presumption of childhood and child age assessment, the protection before and during criminal proceedings, access to unconditional assistance, compensation, non-punishment, assistance and support to the family member of a child victim as well as prevention.

The complete transposition of the Directive by the Member States, followed by its effective implementation, is a legal obligation and necessary to ensure progress throughout the EU. The Commission will monitor the implementation of the Directive and, where necessary, will take appropriate action.

The findings of the 'Report assessing the impact of existing national law, establishing as a criminal offence the use of services which are the objects of exploitation of trafficking in human beings' shows that only ten EU Members States have so far established the use of services of victims of trafficking as a criminal offence. The Commission, in its Report, highlights that the different legal approaches in the Member States fail to effectively contribute to discouraging the demand of such services. The Commission will examine measures to address this situation.

The Federal Migration Centre of Belgium (MYRIA) published its new annual report on trafficking in human beings: "Victims of forced begging in the hands of traffickers", on occasion of the EU Anti-Trafficking Day, on the 18th October 2016.

 

This year, MYRIA has chosen to devote its focus to the theme of the exploitation of forced begging.

 

The pubblication is only available in French and Dutch.

The Dutch National Rapporteur is concerned about the position of Roma children, Syrian child brides and children living illegally in the Netherlands who are required to work in households.
 
In ‘Vulnerability up close’, Corinne Dettmeijer observes that too little attention is devoted to the situation of these groups of children from the perspective of human trafficking. ‘As a result, there is a risk that human trafficking occurring within these groups is not being seen.’
 
The National Rapporteur investigated the potential vulnerability to human trafficking of seven groups of children. She is concerned about the position of some Roma children. ‘I have found that some Roma children are forced to steal on the street,’ she says. ‘This is a form of criminal exploitation, but it is not always treated as such. The child is arrested and punished as a criminal, but what is forgotten is that he or she may have been forced to commit crimes. The public prosecution service, the police and the municipalities must be better prepared to deal with that.’'
 
Child marriages
In the report, the Rapporteur also observes that child marriages occur in the Netherlands. The report looks at the situation of Syrian child brides, children who have travelled from Syria, often with an older man. Approximately 60 child brides arrived in the Netherlands between September 2015 and January 2016. ‘The absence of specific measures makes Syrian child brides vulnerable not only to human trafficking, but also to sexual violence,’ says the National Rapporteur. ‘These girls often find themselves socially isolated, which means that any abuse and exploitation can continue for a long time. There is a risk that they will eventually become domestic slaves or hidden women.’
 
Within the Roma community, there are children who are forced into marriage. The Rapporteur investigated the relationship between these arranged child marriages and human trafficking and sexual violence against children. ‘At the moment there is no active policy designed to tackle forced marriages of children under criminal law. The National Rapporteur is concerned about that because parents who arrange these marriages could be breaking various laws. Despite the growing attention devoted to the position of children in these marriages in recent years, there have been no real consequences.’ In her report, the National Rapporteur recommends greater use of criminal-law sanctions to address this problem. ‘Forcing children to marry and then creating a setting in which they are required to have sex must not be permitted. The policy of the Public Prosecution Service should be geared far more to bringing prosecutions in these situations.’
 
Specific approach needed
In the report published today, the National Rapporteur investigated the vulnerability to human trafficking of seven groups of children. In addition to the aforementioned groups, the study also explored the situation of children in the LGBT community, children with the eating disorder anorexia nervosa, children who join or wish to join ISIS and children who work in the production chains of large companies. The Rapporteur also investigated children living illegally in the Netherlands who are required to perform domestic work, a group that Corinne Dettmeijer regards as ‘very vulnerable’ but about whom little is known. ‘In the cases I investigated the children had often been exploited for years in the Netherlands and although there had been a number of occasions when the child had social contact, no alarm bells had ever gone off.’

European Commission, September 2016, 107 pages

The Comprehensive Policy Review of Anti-Trafficking Projects, a study completed as a deliverable of the EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings (2012-2016).

321 anti-trafficking projects were directly funded by the Commission at a total of EUR 158.5 million during the period 2004-2015. This dataset does not include allocations in the context of the response to the migration crisis.

221 different principal grant holders received funding and ran activities in over 100 different countries worldwide.

Two thirds of funded projects and funding was awarded to principal grant holders located in EU Member States and one third to principal grant holders located in non-EU countries. Just over half of funded projects were led by non-governmental organisations (57%).

EC funding per project which was significantly higher than any of the other types of principal grant holder at EUR 1.1 million compared to less than EUR 500,000.

Together DG International Cooperation and Development and DG Home Affairs and Migration contracted over 80% of the funded projects (43% and 38% respectively) and almost 90% (67% and 22% respectively) of EC funding. 

Funded projects on sexual exploitation received the lowest average funding per project (EUR 231,429).

Funded projects on child trafficking were awarded EUR 30.5 million.

Funded projects on Labour exploitation received the third highest level of EC funding, worth EUR 22 million.

The Study examined how the projects contributed to the work against trafficking in human beings at the EU level and more precisely to the priorities of the Commission in this area.

In order to mark the 10th EU Anti-Trafficking Day, the 18 October 2016, the European Commission organised a press conference in Vienna the day before (17 October 2016). This year, the EU Anti-Trafficking Day coincides with the works of the Eighth Conference of Parties of the United Nations Conference on Transnational and Organised Crime (UNTOC) in Vienna, to which the EU is a party. The press conference brought together EU Member States and international partners in joint efforts to address trafficking in human beings.

Yury Fedotov, the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime highlighted that "Every day, our goal is to strive for an end to the cruelty of human trafficking. Just as importantly, we must ensure that every victim becomes a spirited and confident survivor by offering them our unconditional support and assistance. But, this cannot be achieved without a considerable effort from the international community. Success can only come through greater cooperation and collaboration, and the full implementation of the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols on human trafficking and migrant smuggling."

Ambassador Didier Lenoir, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the International Organisations in Vienna, noted that "Human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar industry, turning people into commodities and destroying their dreams for a better life. So let's stop reading statistics and start changing them!". He went on to highlight that "In order to contribute to combatting human trafficking, the EU and UNODC have launched the Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT). This four-year joint initiative will be implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)."

Myria Vassiliadou, EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator in the European Commission underlined the comprehensive and ambitious EU legal and policy framework to address trafficking in human beings. She highlighted that astronomical profits as well as the demand for all forms of exploitation fuel this serious form of organised crime and fundamental rights violation. The Coordinator presented the Comprehensive Policy Review of Anti-Trafficking Projects, a study completed as a deliverable of the EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings (2012-2016). 321 anti-trafficking projects were directly funded by the Commission at a total of EUR 158.5 million during the period 2004-2015. This dataset does include allocations in the context of the response to the migration crisis. 221 different principal grant holders received funding and ran activities in over 100 different countries worldwide. Two thirds of funded projects and funding was awarded to principal grant holders located in EU Member States and one third to principal grant holders located in non-EU countries. Just over half of funded projects were led by non-governmental organisations (52%). EC funding per project which was significantly higher than any of the other types of principal grant holder at EUR 1.1 million compared to less than EUR 500,000. Together DG International Cooperation and Development and DG Home Affairs and Migration contracted over 80% of the funded projects (43% and 38% respectively) and almost 90% (67% and 22% respectively) of EC funding. Funded projects on sexual exploitation received the lowest average funding per project (EUR 231,429). Funded projects on child trafficking were awarded EUR 30.5 million. Funded projects on Labour exploitation received the third highest level of EC funding, worth EUR 22 million. The Coordinator further elaborated on how the projects contributed to the work against trafficking in human beings at the EU level and more precisely to the priorities of the Commission in this area.

The Coordinator added "This study is showcase to accountability from the Commission. The findings will inform all relevant stakeholders and contribute to our future policy orientation. Further, we will ensure that our funding efforts better reflect our policy priorities and strengthen issues that have received less focus in the past. Most importantly the findings will help in ensuring that our efforts lead to impact. The European Commission will continue to support financially such efforts against trafficking in human beings: efforts to protect the victims, prosecute the perpetrators and prevent the crime from happening in the first place".

Oľga ALGAYEROVÁ, Ambassador at the Permanent Mission of the Slovak Republic to the International Organisations in Vienna underlined "The Slovak Republic as the presiding country of the Council of the European Union considers combating trafficking in human beings as one of the important areas, where solutions are not possible without jointly agreed solutions that have to be sustainable. Slovakia transformed the main conceptual ideas of the EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings 2012-2016 in its national program and action plan to combat trafficking in human beings (2015-2018), which directs all activities of public sector in cooperation with non-governmental organizations in this area. We are very pleased that during the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union we have the opportunity to express our support for the development of future policy orientation at EU level to combat human trafficking, which will be meaningful continuation of the efforts to tackle trafficking in human beings as a whole and to respond to emerging trends and needs in this area."

Michèle Ramis, Ambassador of France in charge of transnational organised crime underscored that "The 10th EU Anti-Trafficking day provides a good opportunity to take stock of the situation regarding human trafficking. We support the efforts and work of the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, Dr. Vassiliadou, to implement the EU policy in this field. France is strongly committed in combating all forms of human trafficking, through the implementation of a national action plan, in discouraging the demand, protecting the victims and fighting against the traffickers. Due to the gender dimension of the THB, France is particularly involved in fighting against sexual exploitation. France has recently adopted a law to strengthen the fight against the “prostitutional system”, which is a contribution to the fight against human trafficking. France also prioritizes addressing trafficking of minors, especially in order to assure their best protection".

Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger, Ambassador and National Coordinator on Combatting Human Trafficking of Austria noted that "International reports suggest increased vulnerability of migrants and refugees, particularly unaccompanied minors, to become victims of trafficking. However, there still is little evidence, additional efforts have to be undertaken to get a clearer picture. Austria puts a particular focus on sensitization and awareness raising of professional groups who get in contact with potential victims among migrants and refugees and will prioritize the issue of trafficking in the context of crises driven migration, not only at a public event on 21 October on the occasion of the EU Anti-Trafficking Day, but also during its OSCE Chairmanship in 2017".

Per-Anders Sunesson, Ambassador of Sweden in charge of combatting trafficking in human beings stressed that "in his capacity as Ambassador he promotes and advocates for the Nordic model regarding the prohibition of buying sex as an effective instrument to fight trafficking for sexual exploitation, to enhance gender equality and strengthen human rights".

The works of the 8th Conference of Parties will continue until 21 October.

Please check also:

DGs - Migration and Home Affairs - What's new -

Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-is-new/news/news/2016/20161017_1_en.htm

European Commission - Press release, Brussels, 17 October 2016

The European Commission marks the 10th EU Anti-Trafficking Day today urging a reinvigoration of joint efforts across the Union to eradicate trafficking in human beings.

Trafficking in human beings is a grave violation of human rights and a serious form of organised crime. Important momentum was created with the adoption of the Anti-Trafficking Directive and the EU Anti-Trafficking Strategy, and Member States have been stepping up their efforts to effectively contribute to the prevention and combatting of this crime as well as providing adequate protection and assistance to the victims. On the occasion of the 10th EU Anti-Trafficking Day, the European Commission is today presenting a comprehensive policy review of anti-trafficking projects funded by the Commission between 2004 and 2015, while public authorities, civil society and citizens organise and participate in events all across Europe to mobilize social awareness. This review is one of the last remaining of the 40 priority actions enlisted in the EU Anti-Trafficking Strategy, which comes to an end in 2016.

Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said: "Today, one decade after we instituted the EU Anti-Trafficking Day, we call for renewed attention to this atrocious crime. Trafficking in human beings must be stopped. Today, new trends are calling for intensified efforts from all of us: migrants and refugees, especially vulnerable persons such as women or unaccompanied children, are suffering terrible experiences at the hands of traffickers. The profits from their exploitation go to the very same networks of organised crime that we are fighting daily with our security policies. We will continue to do so, supporting our Member States in this fight, legally, operationally and financially. We owe this to each and every victim."

EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, Myria Vassiliadou, added: "We will now build on the results of this study, which examines anti-trafficking projects funded by the Commission and their contribution towards the objectives of the EU Anti-Trafficking Strategy. Our priorities should be to focus on both the identification of and early and effective support for victims of trafficking, to fight against traffickers and to address the trafficking chains and improve our knowledge and understanding of trafficking through data collection at national and EU level. Whilst we continue to improve EU funding initiatives to better help Member States address trafficking, we expect them to effectively implement our legal and political commitments to tackle trafficking in human beings in the EU and across the globe."

The policy review examines 321 projects, with activities in over 100 countries worldwide with total funding of €158.5 million, according to their scope and geographic areas of intervention, as well as target beneficiaries, funding level, types of output and policy recommendations. It analyses project deliverables with a view to providing a solid basis for coherent, cost-effective and strategic planning, including for the further development of anti-trafficking policies at EU level. Commission funded projects have focused on child trafficking and trafficking for labour exploitation as well as trafficking for sexual exploitation, forced begging and organ removal, with around half of the projects addressing multiple forms of exploitation. The findings of the study further identified the next steps required to support future policy development identified.

Ahead of tomorrow's EU Anti-Trafficking Day, the EU is participating today in the 8th Conference of Parties of the United Nations Conference on Transnational and Organised Crime (UNTOC) in Vienna.

 

Background

Trafficking in human beings is a violation of fundamental rights, and is explicitly prohibited under the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. It is also listed as a crime in Article 83 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

The EU Anti-Trafficking Directive adopted in 2011 put forward a victim centred approach, including a gender perspective, to cover actions in different areas such as criminal law provisions, prosecution of offenders, victims' support and victims' rights in criminal proceedings, prevention and monitoring of the implementation.

In its EU Strategy on Trafficking in human beings 2012-2016, the EU set out 40 concrete and practical measures against trafficking in human beings, putting the protection and rights of the victims at the forefront.

The EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator is responsible for improving coordination and coherence among EU institutions, EU agencies, Member States and international actors and developing existing and new EU policies to address trafficking in human beings.

The EU Anti-Trafficking Day was established in 2007 following a recommendation of the European Parliament, and a proposal of the Commission. Ever since, 18 October is marked with events across the EU, bringing together all relevant actors working for eradicating trafficking in human beings.

 

For more information

 

On 31 May 2013, the Commission launched an EU Civil Society Platform against trafficking in human beings as an action of the EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings 2012-2016.

With the current Strategy coming to its completion, the Commission is launching a renewed Call for Expression of Interest to participate in the EU Civil Society Platform against Trafficking in Human Beings in order to respond to the request by numerous civil society actors to join these efforts as well as to affirm the interest of the current participants in the work conducted.

Current participants as well as other interested civil society actors are invited to apply.

Please read through the document attached (also available on the platform and on our website) carefully prior to filling in the application in full no later than 9 September, 2016. 18.00pm.

Please note that late applications will not be considered.