11 January 2018
by Catherine MALLET

At the beginning of December, the European Commission published a Communication document on "Reporting on the follow-up on the EU Strategy towards the Eradication of trafficking in human beings and identifying further concrete actions". Until the end of 2016 there has been an EU Strategy in place which has been the main instrument for developing, coordinating and implementing EU action in this area, together with the EU Directive 2011/36/EU.

In the Communication, the Commission recognises the need to step up action in this area given the change of socio-political context such as the impact of the financial crisis, the migration crisis and organised crime groups. Therefore the Communication proposes a set of targeted priorities to step up the EU’s efforts to prevent trafficking in human beings. It focuses on

  1. Stepping up the fight against organised criminal networks by means of including disrupting the business model and untangling the trafficking chain
  2. Provide better access to and realise the rights for victims of trafficking  
  3. Intensify a coordinated and consolidated response, both within and outside the EU

For the first priority, key actions include encouraging member states to criminalise those knowingly using services exacted from victims of trafficking. They will also encourage member States to make investigations and prosecutions more effective.

For the second priority, key actions include supporting Member States to better detect victims, guaranteeing access to assistance and support. According to the Commission reports, inadequate access to information about victims’ rights and ineffective referral mechanisms at national and transnational level, including failure to identify all those who fall victim to trafficking, continue to prevent victims of trafficking from actually benefitting from the rights to which they are entitled. As part of this priority, the Commission will focus on capacity building to improve cooperation by means of EU border and migration management tools for detecting, identifying and sharing information and data on victims of trafficking and traffickers.

Key actions for the third priority include working towards achieving Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Finally, cross cutting priorities identified are to continue widening the knowledge base and understanding of the trafficking phenomenon, and to provide appropriate funding in support of anti-trafficking initiatives and projects. This will include the development of data collection lethodologies and an EU-wide anti-trafficking campaign.

  • Read the full Communication HERE

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

Tags: Europe