Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2011 on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims was adopted in April 2011 and was to be transposed by member States by April 2013. It sets binding rules on the definition of criminal offences and the level of sanctions as relates to trafficking in human beings. The Directive also sets out to strengthen prevention as well the protection of victims.
Six United Nations agencies have compiled a commentary on the EU Directive on Trafficking in Human Beings which provides a lot of useful background information on the articles of the Directive. The Commentary discusses key articles of the Directive focusing on human rights and gender perspective, including the non-application of penalties to victims (Article 8), the protection of and assistance to victims, examining the concept of due diligence and the principles of non-refoulement and non-revictimisation, and the role of national referral mechanisms (Articles 11), the protection of victims in criminal proceedings (Article 12), the concepts of remedy and redress (Article 17), prevention (Article 18), and the establishment of a monitoring mechanism (Article 19).
On 14 April 2021, the European Commission adopted a new EU Strategy on Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings (2021-2025). This strategy which is closely linked to the EU Strategy to Tackle Organised Crime (2021-2025).provides for a comprehensive response to the crime – from preventing the crime, and protecting and empowering victims to bringing traffickers to justice.
The Strategy focuses on:
In 2013, the EU Civil Society Platform was launched, which currently brings together over 100 NGO participants from across the EU and beyond, including many La Strada International members. The Platform regularly meets twice per year, including in joint session with the informal network of National Rapporteurs or Equivalent Mechanisms on trafficking in human beings, and meetings are organised by the Office of the EU Anti-trafficking Coordinator