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.