Together Against Trafficking in Human Beings

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

The EU Network of National Rapporteurs or Equivalent Mechanisms (NREMs) was established following the Council Conclusions in June 2009. The role of the NREMs is elaborated in the Anti-trafficking Directive, Article 19. Further information from the EU Member States is available in the dedicated section.

The NREMs are responsible for monitoring the implementation of anti-trafficking policy at the national level and play a crucial role in data collection on trafficking in human beings at both national and EU level. The European Commission, via the Office of the EU Anti-trafficking Coordinator (EU ATC), has worked to facilitate and strengthen the work of the EU Network of NREMs to promote enhanced information sharing and exchange of best practice, as well as to ensure good coordination of tasks at EU and national level.  Currently, the successful functioning of the Network is ensured with biannual meetings attended by all NREMs appointed by the EU Member States and all independent bodies, where possible. The EU ATC, on behalf of the European Commission, chairs the meetings with the incumbent EU Presidency. This allows for working at both the operational and strategic level as well as at the monitoring level in an informed and coordinated way.

The Heads of ten EU Agencies signed a 2018 Joint Statement of commitment to working together to address trafficking in human beings, building on the work done and the synergies created since the 2011 Joint Statement was signed.

Part of the mandate of the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator is to foster cooperation and policy coherence. To this end, joint efforts to address trafficking in human beings continue to be fostered with, amongst others, the EU Network of National Rapporteurs or Equivalent Mechanisms, the EU Civil Society Platform and the Coordination Network of the EU Agencies’ contact points on trafficking in human beings, including via regular meetings.

The comprehensive EU approach is anchored in the EU Anti-trafficking Directive and complemented by the EU Strategy 2012-2016 and the 2017 Communication stepping up EU action. Further relevant EU and international instruments, as well as case law, are available in the dedicated sections. 

call for proposals has been published including the topic Support to victims of trafficking in human beings, with deadline 31 January 2019. 

This call is part of the activities foreseen in the Annual Work Programme 2018 for the Asylum Migration Integration Fund.


Project ANTICORRP - Anticorruption Policies Revisited: Global Trends and European Responses to the Challenge of Corruption

Reference FP7 290529


Coordinator: The Quality of Government Institute (University of Gothenburg), Sweden


Budget 7.999.182€


Timeframe 1/3/12 – 28/2/17



  • The Quality of Government Institute, Sweden (QOG)
  • Hertie School of Governance, Germany (HERTIE)
  • University College London, UK (UCL)
  • Scuola Normale Superiore, Italy (SNS)
  • Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, Greece (ELIAMEP)
  • Transparency International, Germany (TI)
  • University of Amsterdam, Netherlands (UNIAM)
  • University of Bergamo, Italy (UNIBG)
  • University of Perugia, Italy (UNIPG)
  • GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Germany (GIGA)Center for the Study of Democracy, Bulgaria (CSD)
  • Basel Institute on Governance, Switzerland (BIG)
  • Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary (BCE)
  • Romanian Academic Society, Romania (SAR)
  • Centre for Public Policy, Latvia (PROVIDUS)
  • Hacettepe University, Turkey (HAT)
  • School of Communication and Media, Slovakia (SKAMBA)
  • Partnership for Social Development, Croatia (PSD)
  • Kosovar Stability Initiative, Kosovo (IKS)
  • The University of Nottingham, UK (UNOTT)


Objectives and results

The central objective of the project was to investigate factors that promote or hinder the development of effective anti-corruption policies. Work Package 9 addressed organised crime and impact on vulnerable groups, and explored the patterns of corruption and anti-corruption in trafficking of women in EU in comparative perspective. It researched options for fighting corruption employed by organised crime related to human trafficking. The project developed policy implications and recommendations:



Publications and other resources: 


Further information


Project: GLOMIG (Global Migration From the Eastern Mediterranean and Eurasia: Security and Human Rights Challenges to Europe)

Reference: 28756 – FP6


  • Inonu Bulvari
  • Turkey


Budget : 250,000 €

Timeframe: 01/04/2006 to 31/03/2008




Objectives and results

The nature of migration has changed considerably from one where population movements mainly flowed from less developed countries to developed ones. This calls for new strategies in the field of migration research and policymaking that involve (re)defining and (re)formulating the complexity of these new global migration movements, taking into account a necessary shift of emphasis from economic aspects to security-related ones.

The 'Global migration from the Eastern Mediterranean and Eurasia: Security and human rights challenges to Europe' (Glomig) project worked to foster cooperation between the EU and International Cooperation (INCO) countries through workshops, gatherings of expert groups and provision of policy recommendations related to global migration. Project partners approached their goals with an eye to promoting and facilitating collaborative, comparative and interdisciplinary approaches to the topic. Interested parties from the EU, Russia and Turkey and countries from the western Balkans, Caucasus and eastern Mediterranean were brought together. The aim was to contribute to the European Research Area (ERA) through the creation of a common platform for sharing insights, experiences and know-how on migration, and thus highlighting opportunities and challenges for all involved.

Glomig gathered academics, government officials, representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and advocacy units, and other stakeholders. Project activities allowed for discussion of the various perspectives, especially those of migrant-sending and receiving countries as well as of institutions controlling migratory processes — and of course, of migrants themselves.

Presentations and discussion of the policy papers touched on a number of issues including economic, political and social causes and consequences of migration, human rights, security and democracy, gender issues, and formal and informal networks playing a role in population movements. Participants also focused on preventative and combating measures for smuggling and trafficking.

The creation of platforms also allowed for all views on the topic to be reformulated and integrated into novel frameworks, as well as for advancing migration research by introducing new issues and dimensions. An example of the latter is the increasing feminisation of migration, where women are now migrating independently as students and refugees as well as for economic reasons.

The two volumes of work produced by the project aim to facilitate transnational cooperation for improved impact analyses as well as to promote interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research and policy measures incorporating various stakeholders' perspectives.


Publications and other resources



Further information



On the Move: The impact of flight experiences on the psychological well-being of unaccompanied refugee minors.


Reference ERC-2016-StG Grants #714222



(Promoter) Host Institution – Ghent University


Budget € 1,432,500.00



Start date: 01/02/2017

End date: 31/01/2022

Duration: 60 months


(Partners) Other Beneficiaries – N/A


Objectives and results

Since early 2015, the media continuously confront us with images of refugee children drowning in the Mediterranean, surviving in appalling conditions in camps or walking across Europe.

Within this group of fleeing children, a considerable number is traveling without parents, the unaccompanied refugee minors.

While the media images testify to these flight experiences and their possible huge impact on unaccompanied minors’ well-being, there has been no systematic research to fully capture these experiences, nor their mental health impact.

Equally, no evidence exists on whether the emotional impact of these flight experiences should be differentiated from the impact of the traumatic events these minors endured in their home country or from the daily stressors in the country of settlement.

This project aims to fundamentally increase our knowledge of the impact of experiences during the flight in relation to past trauma and current stressors.

To achieve this aim, it is essential to set up a longitudinal follow-up of a large group of unaccompanied refugee minors, whereby our study starts from different transit countries, crosses several European countries, and uses innovative methodological and mixed-methods approaches.

I will hereby not only document the psychological impact these flight experiences may have but also the way in which care and reception structures for unaccompanied minors in both transit and settlement countries can contribute to reducing this mental health impact.

This proposal will fundamentally change the field of migration studies, by introducing a whole new area of study and novel methodological approaches to study these themes.

Moreover, other fields, such as trauma studies, will be directly informed by the project, as also clinical, educational and social work interventions for victims of multiple trauma.

Last, the findings on the impact of reception and care structures will be highly informative for policymakers and practitioners.


The project will look at unaccompanied refugee minors and their experiences. At the same time, the PI and her team will also look at the role of smuggling and trafficking processes in the experiences of transiting unaccompanied youths and their emotional impact.

Publications and other resources – No publications to date


Further information







Title: Digital Crossings in Europe: Gender, Diaspora and Belonging


Reference ERC-2014-CoG Grants # 647737

PI: Sandra Ponzanesi


(Promoter) Host Institution – Utrecht University


Budget € 1,992,809.00



Start date: 01/01/2016

End date: 31/12/2020

Duration: 60 months


(Partners) Other Beneficiaries – N/A


Objectives and results

Many immigrants enter Europe both legally and illegally every year.

This creates multiple challenges for the Union, including the gender and ethnic segregation of migrant groups, especially women.

While it strives for an inclusive and integrated society as envisioned by the EU motto ‘Unity in Diversity’, it is still often perceived more as ‘Fortress Europe.’ This project focuses on the ‘connected migrant’, studying how virtual communities of migrants, or digital diasporas, convey issues of technology, migration, globalisation, alienation and belonging capturing the lives of migrants in their interaction with multiple worlds and media.

More specifically, it will investigate whether digital technologies enhance European integration or foster gender and ethnic segregation, and, if so, how.

Using a multi-layered and cutting-edge approach that draws from the humanities, social science and new media studies (i.e.internet studies and mobile media), this research considers:

1. How migration and digital technologies enable digital diasporas (Somali, Turkish, Romanian) and the impact these have on identity, gender and belonging in European urban centres;

2. How these entanglements are connected to and perceived from outside Europe by focusing on transnational ties; and

3. How digital connections create new possibilities for cosmopolitan outlooks, rearticulating Europe’s motto of ‘Unity in Diversity.’

The outcomes of this work will be innovative at three levels.

a) Empirically, the project gathers, maps and critically grounds online behaviour by migrant women from a European comparative perspective.

b) Methodologically, it breaks new ground by developing new methods of analysis for digital diasporas contributing to the development of ‘postcolonial’ digital humanities.

c) Conceptually, it integrates colonial and migrant relations into the idea of Europe, elaborating on the notion of cosmopolitan belonging through virtual connectivity.




The focus of this project is on gender migration, i.e. female migration. This may be linked to family reunion, arranged marriages, love-chain and care-drain (through which migrants leave their loved ones behind to take care of others as nannies, domestic workers or for the care of elderly), but also to more unsettling issues such as trafficking of women, or women escaping violent conflict.


Publications and other resources – No publications to date


Further information


Project EUBorderCare

Intimate Encounters in EU Borderlands: Migrant Maternity, Sovereignty and the Politics of Care on Europe’s Peripheries


Reference ERC-2016-StG Grants # 638259

PI: Vanessa Elisa Grotti


(Promoter) Host Institution – European University Institute


Budget € 1,498,463.00



Start date: 01/08/2015

End date: 31/07/2020

Duration: 60 months


(Partners) Other Beneficiaries – N/A

Objectives and results


EU Border Care is a comparative study of the politics of maternity care among undocumented migrants on the EU’s peripheries.

Empirical analysis of personal and institutional relations of care and control in the context of pregnancy and childbirth will support an innovative critique of the moral rationale underpinning healthcare delivery and migration governance in some of Europe’s most densely crossed borderlands in France, Greece, Italy, and Spain.

Unlike other categories of migrants, undocumented pregnant women are a growing phenomenon, yet few social sciences or public health studies address EU migrant maternity care.

This subject has urgent implications: whilst recent geopolitical events in North Africa and the Middle East have triggered a quantifiable increase in pregnant women entering the EU in an irregular situation, poor maternal health indicators among such women represent ethical and medical challenges to which frontline maternity services located in EU borderlands have to respond, often with little preparation or support from national and European central authorities.

Grounded in long-term ethnographic fieldwork in maternity wards located in French Guiana and Mayotte (Overseas France), the North Aegean and Attica (Greece), Sicily (Italy), and Ceuta and Melilla (Spain), my project will trace the networks of maternity care delivery in peripheries facing an increase of immigration flows, and characterised by structural social and economic underinvestment.

The team will investigate migrant maternity from three interlinked research perspectives: migrant women, healthcare delivery staff, and regional institutional agencies.

Empirical and desk research, combined with creative audio-visual methods, will document migrant maternity on EU borderlands to address wider questions about identity and belonging, citizenship and sovereignty, and humanitarianism and universalism in Europe today.




The steady increase in the proportion of migrant women entering the European Union in the past two decades is now well documented in social and political sciences, particularly in the case of domestic work and healthcare, family migration and human trafficking. Pregnant migrant women represent some of the world’s most vulnerable populations entering the European Union today. Their maternal health indicators are consistently poor: existing surveys show that they receive little to no routine antenatal care, and experience more complications during labour and childbirth than their non-migrant counterparts. This project is looking, among other matters, at how women migrants who enter EU borderlands today as part of smuggling operations developed with little regard to human security are exposed to increasing health complications.


Publications and other resources – No publications to date


Further information


Project:  SWAB

Shadows of Slavery in West Africa and Beyond. A Historical Anthropology


Reference ERC-2012-StG Grant #313737


(Promoter) – HI University of Milan - Bicocca


PI: Alice Bellagamba


Budget- 935,100 €



Start date - 01/05/2013

End date - 30/04/2018

60 months


Partners- N/A

Objectives and results

Though the colonial abolition of West African slavery and the slave trade is well researched, the aftermath of slavery still deserves attention.

What does it mean to be of slave descent today?

How do the legacy of slavery and the slave trade overlap with harsh contemporary forms of marginality and exploitation?

Moreover, what do we see when these questions are raised in a much broader comparative perspective?

This project looks at the follow up of the abolition of slavery and the slave trade, a global process that invested the world at different times with a rich and complex variety of outcomes. Most historical research has stopped at the early colonial period, a very well documented phase of world history. Here, the analysis expands up to the present, and beyond the boundaries of West African studies. Four regions of the world, which are under scrutiny for trafficking and contemporary slavery, will be studied comparatively. These are Eastern Senegal (West-Africa), Libya (North Africa), Coastal Madagascar (Indian Ocean), and North Afghanistan (Central Asia). The ambition is to link the micro-study of lived experience, cultural meanings, and practices with the analysis of linkages and broader historical processes. To get results, there is need of a dialogue with human rights, legal theory, studies of gender and racial discrimination as well as scholarly insights on globalization and neo-liberalism.

The ultimate objective of the project is an analytically integrated study of the aftermath of slavery that captures both the variety of concrete case-studies and the larger history of linkages between different parts of Africa and the world, Europe included. Innovation stands at the crossroad of chronological, geographical and disciplinary boundaries.

Mid Term Summary

Through a combination of anthropological and historical perspectives, SWAB (Shadows of Slavery in West Africa and Beyond) looks at the follow up of the abolition of slavery and the slave trade, a global and unfinished process that has invested the world at different times with a rich and complex variety of outcomes.

The objective is to contribute to the on-going debate on the continuities and discontinuities between old and new forms of slavery through a set of concrete case-studies from seven regions of the world: Eastern Senegal, Gambia and Ghana (West-Africa), Tunisia and Morocco (North Africa), Chad (Central Africa), Somalia (Horn of Africa), Madagascar and Mauritius (Indian Ocean), Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan (Central Asia), Southern Italy (Europe).

The project develops three lines of inquiry: 1) meanings of slavery and freedom, 2) gender and domestic work, 3) the role of the state.

  1. Collecting colonial and post-colonial memories of slavery and keeping an eye at today’s forms of labor exploitation, SWAB is showing how local memories of slavery inform and reshape contemporary social hierarchies and local practices of political and economic marginalization.
  2. The team is expanding the analysis of domestic labour beyond the employer/employee relations, taking into account the contexts of origin and arrival of domestic labourers, the network of intermediaries and the formal or informal agencies that mediate between domestics and their “masters”, the role played by associations, syndicates and governments in the regulation of this kind of activity, and the implications of domestic work in the social processes of construction of individual and gendered selves.
  3. SWAB is reading the past and present political mobilization of people of slave ancestry in the wider frame of the politics of marginal groups.

Under which historical circumstances social and economic marginality turns into a political resource?

How do political struggles reframe the relations of slave descendants with members of the former masters’ class?

So far, the study of old and new forms of slavery has stimulated SWAB to explore the local semantics of freedom and emancipation as much as the impact of work ethics and ideologies on the social construction of individual and collective selves.

The next step is comparison so as to highlight the convergences and divergences among the different case studies.


There is much discussion about the need for a historical perspective in the study of human trafficking and contemporary slavery. This project responds to this need by bringing together case studies from Eastern Senegal (West-Africa), Libya (North Africa), Coastal Madagascar (Indian Ocean), and North Afghanistan (Central Asia). For different reasons, these four regions of the world are under international scrutiny for human trafficking and contemporary slavery.

The PI and his team also delve into contemporary legal and human rights debates on human trafficking and contemporary slavery. They will try to find whether there a civic debate on human trafficking and new slavery. 


Further information

On 13th June 2018, the Heads of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), European Police Office (Europol), European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (eu-LISA), European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), EU Judicial Cooperation Unit (Eurojust), European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), EU Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL), and the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) signed a Joint Statement of commitment to working together to address trafficking in human beings, ensuring a coordinated, coherent and comprehensive response.

The Joint Statement is a key concrete action set out in the December 2017 Commission Communication stepping up action to address trafficking in human beings. The signing event, organised on the initiative of the EU Anti-trafficking Coordinator Myria Vassiliadou in line with her mandate, took place in the context of the meeting of the EU Network of National Rapporteurs and Equivalent Mechanisms on trafficking in human beings, appointed by all Member States, and was opened by Commissioner Avramopoulos (via video), the Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Interior H.E. Mr. Krasimir Tsipov, European Commission's Deputy Director General Olivier Onidi on behalf of Director-General for Migration and Home Affairs Paraskevi Michou, and Director of the European Institute for Gender Equality, Virginija Langbakk.

"With today's Joint Statement of ten EU agencies, we are making a significant step forward in further enhancing our cooperation and coordination towards the eradication of trafficking in human beings. EU Agencies' expertise and operational capacity will boost the effectiveness of our common efforts to stop this heinous crime. The Agencies' commitment to a gender-specific and child-sensitive approach will complement the efforts deployed by the Member States, the Commission and the other EU institutions in combatting trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims", said Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs, and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos.

"The Commission will continue monitoring the implementation of the commitments, building on the synergies created since back in 2011, and we look forward to the next steps in our close cooperation. In line with Commission's policy priorities, the Joint Statement will further contribute to operationalising political commitments, placing prevention at the core. This remains our ultimate goal; we need to counter the culture of impunity for all perpetrators. We owe this to the victims", said Myria Vassiliadou, EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator.


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. The participation of civil society actors from across all EU Member States is important.  Indeed, geographical balance has been one of the selection criteria in previous calls.

Amongst current participantscivil society organisations from Denmark, Estonia and Malta are not represented or a place has become otherwise available*; this targeted call for expression of interest is hence open to civil society organisations that are legally based in these three EU Member States.

Please read the call for expression of interest, carefully and only apply if your organisation complies with the eligibility criteria. Kindly note that the deadline to apply for this call is:  25 April 2018. 


Errata corrige: the second paragraph of the call reads "Amongst current participants, civil society organisations from Denmark, Estonia and Malta are not represented or a place has become otherwise available"

The Communication 'Reporting on the follow-up to the EU Strategy towards eradication of trafficking in human beings and identifying further concrete actions' was published in December 2017. 

Building on the EU strategy and in the light of recent migratory, economic and security challenges, the priorities set out by the Commission identify key areas that require immediate action from the EU and the Member States to disrupt the modus operandi of traffickers, strengthen victims' rights and intensify internal and external efforts.

Commissioner for Migration, Citizenship and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “It is not acceptable that in the 21st-century human beings are still being trafficked as commodities and exploited – not in Europe, not anywhere. Over the years the EU has developed legal and operational tools against this heinous crime. But more needs to be done as the migration crisis and transnational security threats have rendered people more vulnerable to criminal networks and exploitation. I call on all Member States to urgently step up their investigations and prosecutions against ruthless trafficking criminals, better protect the victims and fully apply the EU rules towards their protection. I also call on all to work more closely with international partners. Human trafficking is not just a European problem – we must do everything to eradicate it everywhere it happens." 

The Commission will monitor progress on the actions set out in the Communication and report on progress to the European Parliament and the Council by the end of 2018.

Internal Security Fund (ISF) Police - Call for proposals: Organised crime – projects addressing trafficking in human beings, link to the textDeadline: 31 January 2018, h 17:00

The main objective of this Call for Proposals, in line with ISF Police 2017 Annual Work Programme, is to contribute to priorities identified in relevant EU legal and policy instruments including: the findings of the first Commission Report on progress made in the fight against trafficking in human beings (2016); the Report on transposition of Directive 2011/36/EU; the Report on 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; and the findings of the Commission Study on Comprehensive Policy Review of Anti-trafficking Projects.

Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) - Call for proposals: Integration of Third-Country Nationals – Topic: Integration of victims of trafficking in human beings, link to the textDeadline 01 March 2018, h 17:00

The provision of assistance and support for the third country national victims of trafficking in human beings under this call assists the EU Member States in relation to Articles 11-14 of Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims and addresses the findings of the Commission Report on the progress made in the fight against trafficking in human beings (2016).