The European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström launched today a new website dedicated to the fight against trafficking in human beings. The launch took place during a joint press conference with the newly appointed Anti Trafficking Coordinator Myria Vassiliadou.
Commissioner Malmström stated: "The fight against trafficking in human beings is one of my top priorities. I hope that the website that we launch today will play an important part in that work, as it will help practitioners, inform the public, and ensure providing support to the victims of this horrific crime. Last week's vote in the European Parliament was very welcome, as we are now one step closer to more harmonised legislation across the EU. The recent appointment of Ms Vassiliadou as Anti Trafficking Coordinator will further strengthen our actions within this field."
Myria Vassiliadou also welcomed the initiative: "In my new capacity as EU Anti Trafficking Coordinator I will do my best to ensure coherence and efficiency of both policies and efforts of those involved in the fight against human trafficking within the EU. I hope that this website will help raising awareness about human trafficking, while also contributing to the cooperation and mutual understanding among law enforcement agencies, national authorities and others".
The website should become a one stop shop at EU level for practitioners and the public interested in knowing more about trafficking and how it is being addressed within the EU. The website will include national information pages of all EU Member States with factual information on legislation, action plans, coordination, prevention, assistance and support to victims, investigation and prosecution and international coordination.
On 14 December, the European Parliament endorsed a proposal for a Directive on trafficking in human beings, which the Commission put forward in March 2010. This Directive will oblige EU Member States to act on three fronts: prosecuting criminals responsible for trafficking human beings, protecting the victims and preventing the offences. Once the text is formally adopted by the Council, Member States will have up to two years to comply with the new rules, which will replace current EU legislation dating from 2002 (Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA). It will apply to all EU Member States except Denmark and the United Kingdom.
On the very same day, the Commission appointed Ms Myria Vassiliado as the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator. She will get a central role in the coordination of EU policies within this field (IP/10/1715).