Together Against Trafficking in Human Beings

EU Legislation

EU Legislation

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

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.

 

 

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.

 

 Council of European Union, 20 June 2016, 52 pages

The EU is committed to incorporating human rights in its development cooperation.

In this context, following the adoption in 2014 of the Commission Staff Working Document on a "Rights Based Approach” (RBA), encompassing all human rights for EU development cooperation.

The EU has started progressively to integrate such a rights-based approach in its development programmes.

The Commission integrated the RBA in key documents, the project monitoring system, the grid of criteria for project evaluation, and roadmaps for engagement with civil society. At local level, some EU Delegations have already integrated the RBA in their programming. EU-funded projects are being progressively designed according to the RBA. In addition, in 2015 preparation work was done on a support programme, to be operational by beginning of 2016 for training EU Delegations and other EU staff on the implementation of the RBA. 

Foreign Affairs Council, 20 June 2016, 6 pages

This month marks the fifth anniversary of the unanimous adoption by the United Nations Human Rights Council of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

The Council strongly supports the UN Guiding Principles. Their implementation supports and promotes human rights, thus reducing risks for people and business. The Council also supports the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the ILO Tripartite Declaration on Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy, and acknowledges the importance of the UN Global Compact and ISO 26000 Guidance on Social Responsibility.

Issue Paper, UNODOC, 2013, 108 pages

The Issue Paper: “Abuse of a Position of Vulnerability” proposes that important concepts contained in the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children are not clearly understood. In particular, questions have emerged regarding those aspects of the definition that are not elsewhere defined in international law or commonly known to the major legal systems of the world. The existence of such questions means that the parameters around what constitutes “trafficking” are not yet firmly established and, therefore, are not being consistently implemented and applied by the States prosecuting traffickers.

The Issue Paper is divided into 4 parts:

  • Part 1 provides introductory and background material.
  • Part 2 provides an overview and analysis of the international legal and policy framework around abuse of a position of vulnerability and related concepts explored in the Paper.
  • Part 3 summarizes and analyzes the results of the survey of national law and practice as it relates to the “means” element of trafficking: most particularly abuse of a position of vulnerability.
  • Part 4 seeks to draw together the findings from legislation, case law and the views of practitioners around a series of key issues and questions, including: the place of abuse of vulnerability in the crime of trafficking; the relationship of abuse of vulnerability with other “means” and the trafficking “acts”, as well as definitional concepts such as consent and exploitation; evidentiary issues; practitioner perceptions of the value of the concept and views on the accuracy and utility of the Interpretative Note attached to Article 3 of the Protocol, that seeks to explain “abuse of a position of vulnerability”.

Project

TRACKS- "Identification of TRafficked Asylum seeKers' Special needs"

 

Reference

HOME/2014/AMIF/AG/ASYL/7849

 

Promoter

Forum réfugiés-Cosi

 

Budget

  • Total cost of the action: EUR 335.662,26
  • EU contribution: EUR 384.140,83 (87,38%)

 

Timeframe

24 months from 1 January 2016

 

Partners

Beneficiaries:

  • The British Red Cross Society (BRCS)
  • Churches Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME)
  • Spanish Commission for Refugees (CEAR)
  • Italian Red Cross (ItRC)
  • Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI)
  • Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism (KISA)

 

Objectives and results

Objectives:

  • Give visibility and raise awareness of concerned actors (EU and national authorities and institutions, civil society organizations, experts and researchers) on the issue of THB within the asylum procedure at EU and national level;
  • Give a voice to victims of THB to identify their specific needs in relation to asylum procedures and reception conditions throughout the EU;
  • Improve practitioners capacities to identify and meet specific needs of victims of THB in relation to asylum procedures and reception conditions across the EU through exchange of good practices and knowledge;
  • Bring consistency and coherence throughout EU Member States in the way asylum seekers victim of THB are accompanied and supported.

All will contribute to the "development of good practices between national asylum authorities and between them and other stakeholders on the identification of special procedural and reception needs" of trafficked asylum seekers and to the "development of common and national indicators and guidelines" for asylum seekers victims of THB, who are a more specific group within asylum seekers with special needs.

Expected results:

  • Special needs of asylum seekers victims of trafficking are identified as well as how to adapt asylum procedures and reception conditions at national level, based on the recast Reception and Procedure Directives;
  • Awareness of good practices at national and EU level is increased;
  • A new set of innovative and tailored approaches, tools and methodologies are put at the disposal of THB practitioners and other relevant actors;
  • Awareness-raising, capacity-building and networking of concerned stakeholders at national and EU level are strengthened.

 

Project

ENHANCING PREVENTION OF THB (Enhancing the Prevention of Trafficking in Human Beings & Protection of Victims at European Level)

 

Reference

HOME/2012/ISEC/AG/4000004300

 

Promoter

Coordinator: Academy of European Law (ERA)

 

Budget

  • Total cost of the action: EUR 364.373,48
  • Commission contribution: EUR 326.873,48 (89,71%)

 

Timeframe

24 months from 01 January 2014

 

Partners

Co-beneficiaries:

  • Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs
  • Centre for Judicial Studies
  • Latvian Judicial Training Centre
  •  

Associate Partners/on a non EU-funded basis:

  • International Centre for Migration Policy Development  (ICMPD)
  • Gemeinsames Zentrum der deutsch-französischen Polizeiund Zollzusammenarbeit in Kehl
  • Portugese Association for Victim Support
  • European Judicial Training Network (EJTN)

 

Objectives and results

Objectives:

  • To stimulate, promote and develop horizontal methods and tools necessary for strategically preventing and fighting crime and guaranteeing security and public order
  • To promote and develop best practices for the protection of crime victims
  • To gain a clearer view of the overall existing international and European measures adopted and under discussion to counter THB;
  • To be familiar with the tools that are at their disposal in their particular field of action;
  • To be aware of the rights of victims and witnesses, as well as practical ways to identify victims;
  • To understand the added value provided by existing bodies (Europol, Frontex, Eurojust, etc.) and instruments (conventions, directives and other legal acts);
  • To know how to apply such instruments at national level;
  • To raise awareness about new forms of THB, grooming methods and recent issues identified at EU level.

 

Results:

  • Develop horizontal methods for countering THB through public-private networking and promoting the exchange of good practices in countering THB between relevant actors and promoting best practices for the protection of witnesses and victims (through legal training on their identification and rights).
  • Establish partnerships between different relevant actors by providing them with an opportunity to be familiarised with the particular problems other sectors face, e.g. new or less investigated forms of THB, and promoting access to further information through our project website.
  • Reduce the demand for products or services provided by victims, by raising awareness of the grave consequences for their users set forth in international and European legislation through 2 seminars exclusively designed for the private sector.
  • Enhance coordination among legal practitioners through 2 seminars for that sector. The seminars will present an opportunity to boost cross-border cooperation, since legal practitioners will be familiarised with existing EU instruments and meet their colleagues from other EU Member States.
  • Ensure better protection of victims through 2 seminars offering comprehensive training for, amongst others, law enforcement officials likely to come into contact with them.
  • Train target groups on how to identify and better protect potential victims and raise awareness of the various vulnerable groups.

 

 

Further information

  • Transnational project
  • Other projects previously financed by EU: JLS/2007/JPEN/205, Combating trafficking in human beings with particular focus on child trafficking

Remarks by Commissioner Avramopoulos and EU Anti-trafficking coordinator Myria Vassiliadou on the occasion of the presentation of the first report on progress in the fight against trafficking in human beings

Brussels, 19 May 2016

Commissioner Avramopoulos presented together with the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, Myria Vassiliadou, the First Report on progress in the fight against trafficking in human beings.

Commission adopted the first Report on progress in the fight against trafficking in human beings.

The European Commission reported on progress in the fight against trafficking in human beings. The report presents trends and challenges in addressing trafficking in human beings, examines progress made and highlights key challenges that the EU and its Member States need to address as a priority. Despite progress made, EU Member States need to step up efforts to fight effectively against trafficking in human beings.

Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs, and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said: "It is morally and legally unacceptable and inexcusable that in the EU of the 21st century, there are human beings who are bought, sold and exploited like commodities. It is our personal, collective and legal duty to stop this. We have put in place a strong and forward-looking legislative framework to do this. Our main responsibility is to ensure it is now fully implemented so that those responsible are prosecuted and the victims are fully protected and assisted. Today's landmark report will guide us in further developing our policy framework."

The EU Anti-trafficking coordinator, Myria Vassiliadou, said: "The adoption of the EU Anti-trafficking Directive in 2011 created important momentum in raising awareness on the scale of the phenomenon in the EU and the need to address it with a wide range of tools, from criminal law to prevention measures. The trends and challenges identified in this Report clearly show that it is now high time for Member States to step-up efforts to effectively implement the Directive and comply with its obligations."

The report finds that in 2013-2014, 15,846 women, men, girls and boys were registered as victims of trafficking in the EU. Given the complexity of reporting on this phenomenon, the actual number of victims is likely to be substantially higher than those registered by national authorities. According to the Report, trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation is still the most widespread form (67% of registered victims), followed by trafficking for labour exploitation (21% of registered victims). Over three quarters of the registered victims were women (76%), while at least 15% were children.

One of the most sharply increasing trends has been in the number of children falling victim to human traffickers. Victims with disabilities and victims of Roma ethnic background were also identified as increasing in number.

The report also highlights links between human trafficking and other forms of crime and the exploitation of the most vulnerable in the context of the current migration crisis as well as an increased use of the internet and new technologies to recruit victims.

To address the key challenges in the fight against trafficking in human beings, EU Member States need to fully and correctly implement the EU Anti-trafficking Directive in order to increase the number of investigations and prosecutions of perpetrators, establish appropriate mechanisms for the early identification and protection of victims and enhance measures to prevent the trafficking of human beings.

The Commission will continue working on a coordinated and consistent response to trafficking in human beings. By the end of 2016, the Commission will publish two reports on compliance and criminalisation as well as a post-2016 Strategy on trafficking in human beings. Child protection along the migration route is a top priority and the Commission is also paying particular attention to unaccompanied minors – very vulnerable to traffickers – in its reform of the Common European asylum system. 

Errata Corrige. The table on page 13 of the report, that refers to DGPJ / MJ as a secondary data source of the OTSH, should read as follows: 

Portugal has established an Observatory on Trafficking in Human Beings (OTSH) which is to be understood as a monitoring system to collect quantitative and qualitative data from different entities with activities related to trafficking in human beings and to analyse data, and produce knowledge about the phenomenon. These activities include criminal and judicial related actions, as well as activities to support victim’s social reintegration. The OTSH has a network of more than 30 governmental and non-governmental bodies as primary data sources, as the DGPJ/Ministry of Justice, which provides the official data related to criminal and judicial actions (investigations, prosecutions and convictions). As secondary data sources, the OTSH contacts national Liaisons Officers, IOM/Lisbon Office, Europol. The Monitoring System is a part of the national referral mechanism on trafficking in human beings in Portugal. The status given to registers (as far as ‘Identified’ or ‘Not a victim of trafficking’) is given by the competent authority. The OTSH produces trimestral reports (classified) and an Annual Statistical Report that are validated by all data providers.