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Webinar EU Strategies on Victim Rights and Human Trafficking

On 25th January 2021, La Strada International together with Porticus organised the webinar EU Strategies addressing Trafficking and Victims’ rights.

Four speakers; including Mr. Olivier Onidi – Acting EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator; Mrs. Katarzyna Janicka-Pawlowska – EU Victim Rights Coordinator; Mr. Manuel Albano – National Rapporteur for Trafficking in Human Beings and Mrs. Rita Penedo – Director of the Observatory on Trafficking in Human Beings, were invited to directly exchange with anti-trafficking and labour rights NGOs in Europe. 

They reflected on the new and upcoming EU strategies addressing human trafficking and victim rights and related European developments, including the evaluation of the EU Trafficking Directive and Victim Rights Directive, plans for revision of the European legal framework, next to actions foreseen in the Portuguese EU presidency.

The new EU strategy on the Eradication of human trafficking, was initially foreseen to be adopted in 2020, but according Mr. Onidi is now expected to be adopted before the summer of 2021. Speakers highlighted the need for adequate coordination, enhanced cooperation and coherent and consistent European policies to better protect the rights of victims of crime including trafficked persons. NGO representatives raised in particular questions about the upcoming THB strategy, the planned EU legislative framework revision and the new migration policies. They shared concern about detention and Dublin returns of trafficking persons and the lack of access to residence and highlighted the need for more EU compliance with the non-refoulement principle and access to temporary and long term residence for victims. Questions were also raised about the EU Civil Society Platform and possibilities for membership and further NGO contribution to agenda setting.