Brussels, 17 October 2012
EU Anti-Trafficking Day: working together to eradicate trafficking in human beings
On the occasion of the Sixth EU Anti-Trafficking Day on 18 October, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, will participate and deliver a speech in a conference aiming to shape future actions and ensure that all actors will work together towards the eradication of trafficking in human beings. The Cyprus Minister of Interior, Eleni Mavrou, and the EU Anti-trafficking Coordinator, Myria Vassiliadou, will also take part in the event, organised by the European Commission and the Cyprus Presidency of the EU.
Trafficking in human beings remains a serious issue in the European Union. According to the estimations of the International Labour Organisation, 880,000 people in the EU are victims of forced labour, including forced sexual exploitation. That is 1.8 persons per 1,000 inhabitants. According to the latest Eurobarometer survey, 93% of Europeans agree that EU Member States should cooperate to tackle trafficking in human beings.
Depriving someone of their liberty, exploiting them and trading them as commodities for profit are serious human rights violations. Trafficking in human beings cannot be tolerated in any form, be it in Europe or anywhere else in the world. We have developed ambitious legislations and measures to fight trafficking in human beings and we see that the political will by Member States is there. The focus must now be on implementation: we need to translate the legislation into reality. We have an obligation, moral as well as legal, to act. And we need to do so in partnership with international organisations, third countries, civil society organisations, the private sector and all other relevant actors within the EU and abroad. To eradicate trafficking in human beings, we have to act together", said Cecilia Malmström.
The conference will give the European Commission the opportunity to urge Member States to transpose the new EU legislation on trafficking in human beings in a timely manner and to implement concrete and practical measures identified in the new EU Strategy, in order to effectively address this devastating crime, as member states now have less than 6 months to implement the EU Anti-Trafficking directive
The event will bring together high level policy makers, government officials from all Member States, representatives of civil society organisations, the private sector, experts, front line workers who are in direct contact with victims, as well as artists and the media. Participants will reflect on ways to facilitate the work of practitioners in all aspects of trafficking in human beings and ensure the implementation of the EU policy initiatives in a coherent manner.
The conference, which will be accessible to journalists, will focus on future work to strengthen cooperation and partnerships, prevention, victim protection and assistance, as well as prosecution of traffickers.
For instance, the total number of cases prosecuted in the EU remains low. In fact, preliminary results of recent data show that the number of convictions on trafficking in human beings has decreased from 2008 to 2010. That is why the Strategy foresees inter alia the establishment of national multidisciplinary law enforcement units specialised in human trafficking and supports Member States in establishing joint investigation teams. Better identification of the victims and better assistance and protection, will increase their participation and their cooperation with law enforcement. The Strategy emphasises the need for formalised national referral mechanisms in all Member States.
A press conference will take place in Albert Borschette Conference Center (room CCAB 0A) at 13:00 on 18 October.
With the "EU Strategy towards the eradication of trafficking in Human Beings (2012-2016)", the Commission is focusing on concrete actions that will support and complement the implementation of EU legislation on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims (Directive 2011/36/EU) - whose deadline for transposition is 6 April 2013.
The EU Strategy is a practical instrument addressing the main needs and challenges in the EU for the next five years from a human rights and gender-specific perspective. It identifies five priorities and outlines a series of initiatives for each of them:
Cecilia Malmström's website
Follow Commissioner Malmström on Twitter
DG Home Affairs website
Follow DG Home Affairs on Twitter
European Commission Anti-trafficking website
The conference "Working together towards eradication of trafficking in human beings: the way forward" (Commissioner Malmström's speech will be published)