New EU Anti-Trafficking Directive Leaves Trafficked People Behind

On 27th of May, the Council of the EU adopted the revised THB Directive. This was the last step in the decision-making procedure for this revised legislative act. After being signed by the President of the European Parliament and the President of the Council, the recast directive will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and will enter into force on the twentieth day following its publication. One of the main changes is that the revised Directive obliges member states to criminalise the knowing use of services of trafficked people when this was previously optional. However, the directive fails to address important topics. 

Suzanne Hoff, International Coordinator of La Strada International, said in the joint statement with Picum: “If there are indications of trafficking, the law already grants the person access to unconditional support, regardless of their status or engagement with authorities or legal proceedings. However, this hardly happens in practice, and also prevents access to remedies. The revision should have addressed this and incorporated more binding provisions to strengthen the rights of trafficked people. This includes the possibility to access a residence permit on personal grounds, the erasure of any criminal record and sanctions linked to their trafficking, and the prefinancing by States of compensation awarded”.