In a majority of EU Member States, only a small number of residence permits are issued to victims of trafficking in human beings. This is shown in a report the Commission has published today, on the EU Anti-trafficking day, on the implementation of the Directive on the residence permits issued to victims of trafficking.
"We can not accept that, while several hundred thousand victims are estimated to be trafficked every year within and into the EU, only a few thousand victims are assisted," said Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs. "Trafficking in human beings, whether it is called forced labour or sexual exploitation, is a terrible crime and should be called by its right name: modern slavery. Fighting it is a top priority."
The EU directive from 2004 makes it possible for Member States to issue residence permits linked to the length of national proceedings in exchange for cooperation of victims with investigation authorities. In its report on the implementation of this directive, the European Commission however notes that while the number of identified victims in some Member States ranges from several hundred to even two thousand per year, the number of residence permits based on the Directive is rarely higher than twenty per year.
The EU Anti-Trafficking Day has been established on 18 October of every year. On the occasion of this fourth edition, the Belgian EU Presidency organises a high level conference "Towards a multidisciplinary approach to prevention of trafficking in human beings, prosecution of traffickers and protection of victims' bringing together politicians, government practitioners and civil society from across EU." Cecilia Malmström held a speech on the conference.
Read Cecilia Malmström's opening speech given at the conference, today's press release from the Commission and the press release on proposal on strengthening the fight against trafficking in human beings put forward in March 2010.