Together Against Trafficking in Human Beings

EU side-event CSW63: Access to rights of women and girls who are victims of trafficking: assistance, protection and support

EU side-event CSW63: Access to rights of women and girls who are victims of trafficking: assistance, protection and support

Wednesday, 13 March 2019, 13:15-14:30

United Nations Headquarters - Conference Room 11

RSVP HERE by 8 March 2019



Dr. Myria Vassiliadou

EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator

H.E. Ms. Laura Thompson

Deputy Director General, International Organisation for Migration

Representative of the Philippines (name TBC)

H.E. Mr. John Cotton Richmond

US Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

H.E. Amb. Kornelios S. Korneliou

Permanent Representative of the Republic of Cyprus to the UN

H.E. Amb. Maria Theofili

Permanent Representative of Greece to the UN

Ms. Ulasi Ebele

Director of the Counselling and Rehabilitation Department, Nigerian National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons


The priority theme of CSW63 in 2019 is “Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls”. Social protection, assistance and support, and access to rights for victims of trafficking, are systematically placed at the core of the international and EU anti-trafficking legal and policy frameworks, including as a key priority under the 2017 European Commission Communication on the follow-up to the EU Anti-Trafficking Strategy (2012-2016).

One of the purposes of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, Trafficking in Persons Protocol, is to protect and assist the victims of trafficking in persons, with full respect for their human rights (Art. 2(b)). The Protocol sets out specific protection and assistance standards for victims of trafficking such as measures for their physical, psychological and social recovery (e.g. housing; counselling; medical, psychological and material assistance; employment; educational and training opportunities; availability of residence permits; facilitation of repatriation and non-liability). In this context, the Working Group on Trafficking in Persons of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime addressed the issue of international cooperation and the needs and rights of victims in July 2018 and adopted a set of recommendations in this respect. 

Trafficking of women and girls is recognised by the European Union as a form of structural violence against women and until this day, the majority of its victims are women and girls. The EU has launched, together with the UN, the “Spotlight Initiative” to eliminate violence against women, aiming at mobilising commitment of political leaders and contributing to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and more specifically Goal 5 on Gender Equality and Goal 16 on inclusive and peaceful societies. It does so by building new multi-stakeholder partnerships and providing large-scale, targeted support, backed by an initial dedicated financial envelope from the EU of €500 million. The initiative includes actions addressing trafficking of women and girls, in line with targets 5.2 and 16.2.

The EU Anti-Trafficking Directive sets out the assistance, protection and support that should be provided to victims of trafficking, including psycho-social services and durable solutions for child victims. In implementing the Directive, EU Member States are obliged to take a gender-specific approach, and the European Institute for Gender Equality, in cooperation with the European Commission recently adopted practical guidance for Member States and practitioners on gender specific measures in anti-trafficking actions. 


This side event aims to foster exchanges on the EU and international legal and policy frameworks for the rights of victims of trafficking and examine their implementation, especially as they relate to women and girls. The event will bring together EU and international partners and promote an exchange of perspectives on how the rights of victims of trafficking should be translated into a living reality, including by looking at the progress that has been achieved, the remaining obstacles and the way forward.


The event will take the form of a round-table, high-level discussion and will bring together EU Member States, non-EU countries and partners of the EU, including civil society representatives, international organisations and treaty monitoring bodies. The event will be moderated by Dr Myria Vassiliadou, EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator. Following her brief introduction, the panellists listed below will be given the floor for short statements of 3-5 minutes. The floor will be opened for discussion and pre-selected participants will be given the floor.


Publication Date
Monday, 11 March, 2019
Section Media Outreach