The European Commission has published a new Strategy on Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings (2021-2025).
The strategy highlights the importance of reducing demand that fosters trafficking; breaking the business model of traffickers; protecting, supporting, and empowering the victims with a specific focus on women and children; and promoting international cooperation. It calls for a comprehensive response to the problem from prevention through protection of victims to prosecution and conviction of traffickers.
Concrete actions identified by the plan include the provision of further support to Member States in implementing of the Anti-trafficking Directive; the launch of an evaluative study of the Anti-trafficking Directive; an assessment of how to strengthen the effectiveness of the Employers’ Sanctions Directive; improving data recording and data collection on trafficking in human beings; the creation of a focus group of specialised prosecutors against trafficking in human beings; the enhancement of capacity building and sharing of best practices for the identification of victims of trafficking; the enhancement of cooperation towards a European referral mechanism; and the adoption of an EU Action Plan against Migrant Smuggling (2021-2025).
It invites Member States to improve the capacity of labour inspections and/or social partners and facilitate multiagency cooperation for identifying trafficked victims for labour exploitation; cooperate with European agencies, in particular Europol; improve national data recording and data collection on trafficking in human beings; and promote gender sensitive and child rights-based training for officers and all practitioners likely to encounter victims.
The Commission stresses that the strategy builds on the EU’s pre-existing policy and legal framework addressing the problem of trafficking in human beings, rooted in the Anti-Trafficking Directive (Ireland participates in Directive 2011/36/EU on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims).
The EU Strategy to Tackle Organised Crime, closely linked with the Strategy on Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings, has also been published.
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