20 May 2020
The European Commission recently released a call for Civil Society engagement on the topic of human trafficking with a view to draft a Third Report on the progress made in the fight against trafficking in human beings.
La Strada International responded to this call by submitting a report based on findings from its members covering 22 Member States. In its submission, LaStrada International highlights the serious gaps in the implementation of the Anti-Trafficking Directive highlighting the following issues:
- a predominant focus on trafficking for sexual exploitation without other forms of human trafficking being recognised, such as labour exploitation, or forced criminality.
- absence of a new EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Human Trafficking.
- delayed appointment of an EU Anti Trafficking Coordinator.
- the absence of recognition of the wide-ranging roots of human trafficking including global inequality, exclusion, poverty and (armed) conflicts.
- the low rates of identification of victims of trafficking.
- the impact of Covid-19 on the restricted capacity of NGOs providing services, reduced State efforts in identifying victims and the increasingly vulnerable position of migrants with many migrant workers tell us that they have to continue their work, without sufficient preventive measures taken by their employers.
- insufficient attention to the vulnerability of third-country nationals with a noted increase in exploitation and abuse of migrants in need of protection, including refugees and asylum-seekers from 3rd countries.
- Safe and effective complaint mechanisms for undocumented workers to report exploitation and access justice are lacking in most European Member States.
- Severe gaps in access to justice, including access to legal aid and compensation.
The submission called for a number of measures to be taken by the Commission including:
- Develop a new and effective EU Strategy to Eradicate Trafficking in Human Beings, to be adopted in 2020.
- Appoint a new qualified EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator according to a transparent procedure.
- Ensure that policies and measures addressing human trafficking are based on a human rights-based approach and that policies and measures focus on all forms of human trafficking.
- Improve mechanisms to increase the identification of all forms of human trafficking by increasing efforts to proactively reach and inform all vulnerable persons.
- Delink the inspection of labour laws and the control of migration or residence status of workers.
- Develop and adopt legislative proposals that compel businesses to make their supply chains transparent and disclose what actions they are taking to avoid exploitation in their operations.
La Strada International welcomes the output of this call from the Commission.