Combatting the slavery of our times: 40 new measures for an EU strategy against trafficking in human beings.

Combatting the slavery of our times: 40 new measures for an EU strategy against trafficking in human beings.

Hundreds of thousands of people are trafficked in the EU every year. Women and men, boys and girls in vulnerable positions are traded for the purpose of sexual or labour exploitation, removal of organs, begging, domestic servitude, forced marriage, illegal adoption as well as other forms of exploitation.

On the 19th June 2012, the Commission adopted the EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings (2012-2016), a set of concrete and practical measures to be implemented over the next five years.

The strategy includes prevention, protection and support of the victims, as well as prosecution of the traffickers.

It identifies five priorities and outlines a series of initiatives for each of them, such as:
– Supporting the establishment of national law enforcement units specialised in human traffickig
– Creating joint investigation teams and involving Europol and Eurojust in all cross-border trafficking cases
– Providing clear information to victims on their rights under EU law and national legislation, in particular their right to assistance and health care, their right to a residence permit and their labour rights.
– Creating an EU Mechanism to better identify, refer, protect and assist trafficked victims.
– Establishing a European Business Coalition against trafficking in Human Beings to improve cooperation between companies and stakeholders.
– Establishing an EU platform of civil society organisations and service providers working on victim protection and assistance in Member States and third countries.
– Supporting research projects examining the Internet and social networks as increasingly popular recruitment tools for traffickers.

The new measures will be considered by the European Parliament and EU governments. They complement an EU law adopted last year that establishes common standards on prosecuting traffickers and protecting victims.
EU countries have until April 2013 to incorporate the rules into their national laws. The Commission will report every 2 years on the progress EU countries make on fighting human trafficking, with the first scheduled for 2014.

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