The European Commission has announced new proposals for coordinated measures against human trafficking aiming to protect victims and target criminals more effectively, in a statement issued on 19 June 2012.
Launching the scheme on Tuesday, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, said by tackling the money trail behind trafficking, the aim was to get the additional proof required to secure more prosecutions:
“Unfortunately slavery hasn’t yet been left to the history books.”
Research suggests children are forced into criminal activity and traded as commodities with a €20,000 price tag, while trafficking in general generates more than €25bn in annual profits for criminal gangs.
The new proposals will be considered by the European Parliament and EU governments. They complement an EU law adopted in 2011 that establishes common standards across EU member states on prosecuting traffickers and protecting victims. EU countries have until April 2013 to incorporate the rules into their national laws.
The Commission is proposing priority measures governments can take together over the next 5 years to help victims and jail traffickers more effectively. These include:
- helping victims, especially children – developing a cross-border approach so countries can assist each other in tracking and protecting victims; providing clearer information to victims about their EU rights
- more prevention, less demand – funding research to better understand the economics of trafficking and provide solutions; establishing a pan-European business coalition against human trafficking
- catching and prosecuting traffickers – establishing specialised national investigation units to conduct more joint investigations with EU agencies such as Europol
- more coordination and cooperation – within the EU, with international organisations and with other countries, creating EU-wide networks for NGOs and others working to protect victims here and abroad
- responding effectively to emerging trends – developing an EU-wide system for sharing information and supporting research on Internet and social networks used to recruit victims.
The Commission will report every 2 years on the progress EU countries make on fighting human trafficking, with the first scheduled for 2014.
Marius Wanders, World Vision’s EU representative and member of the EU group of experts on trafficking in human beings, said, “It’s gratifying to see the strategy’s prioritisation of children through its call on EU member states to develop clear guidelines and strengthen child protection systems. “We also welcome the recognition of the growing risk to ‘home alone’ children whose parents have migrated abroad for labour purposes.”
The Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development, developed by IFSW, IASSW and ICSW, includes a specific commitment to work with others to eliminate human trafficking.
European Union statement: http://ec.europa.eu/news/justice/120619_en.htm
Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development – www.globalsocialagenda.org