On 23 and 24th of November 2020, an online Focus (expert) group meeting was held in the framework of the project REsidency Status: STrengthening the protection of trafficked persons (REST project) coordinated by LEFO IBF in Austria and implemented by 5 other LSI members in Serbia (ASTRA), Moldova (La Strada), the Netherlands (CoMensha), France (CCEM) and Spain (Proyecto Esperanza). The project works on improving access to a long-term protection for third country nationals trafficked in Europe, through a secure residency status, by exploring available long protection opportunities, including the refugee protection scheme.
Currently, huge differences are noted between the number of identified victims and issued residence permits and in general there are only few possibilities to obtain (permanent) residence on personal grounds in the different European countries. At the focus group meeting, experts were asked to verify the REST draft research findings and its recommendations. Recommendations included the need for protection of all trafficked persons regardless their legal procedure, more compatibility between NRMs, Asylum and Residence Permit Systems and the granting of residence on account of Victims’ personal situation. The research and related policy paper will be published beginning of 2021 and used for further advocacy to promote residence for trafficked persons. See also our related International Migrants Day Statement.