Press Release - Partnerships needed to eradicate human trafficking
18.10.2012, 18:30 (CET)
Future steps to strengthen cooperation and partnerships between the relevant bodies fighting for the eradication of trafficking in human beings, were debated during today’s Conference in Brussels which marked the 6th EU Anti-Trafficking Day. During the Conference entitled Working Together towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings: 'The Way Forward’, ways to reinforce prevention, victim protection and assistance as well as the prosecution of offenders were also discussed.

The conference, organised by the European Commission and the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the EU, brought together high level policy makers, government officials from all Member States, representatives of civil society organisations, experts and front line workers.

EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ms Cecilia Malmström, the EU Anti-trafficking coordinator, Ms Myria Vassiliadou, and Minister of Interior of Cyprus, Ms Eleni Mavrou, were in attendance.

Minister of Interior Ms Eleni Mavrou stated that “the EU has recognised the need for a more coordinated reaction to the trafficking of human beings so as to further strengthen cooperation, protection of victims, prevention and effectively proceed with the prosecution of traffickers. These needs have been expressed through the Stockholm Programme, the adoption of the new anti-trafficking Directive, the appointment of the Anti-Trafficking Coordinator Ms Myria Vassiliadou and more recently through the Council Conclusions on the strategy which are expected to be adopted very soon.”

Cyprus’ Interior Minster added that “we firmly believe that we now have in our hands the legislative and practical tools to effectively tackle this crime. What is now necessary is to remain alert and implement without excuses these tools in our day to day work”.

Low number of convictions

Trafficking in Human Beings still constitutes a very lucrative form of crime that generates profits of dozens of billions of euro for the perpetrators each year. The available data does not indicate that the problem is decreasing. According to the ILO Global Estimates Report of June 2012 on forced labour, the total number of victims of forced labour worldwide is estimated at 20.9 million, of whom 880,000 are in the EU. At the same time, the total number of convictions for human trafficking remains relatively low.

EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ms Cecilia Malmström stressed the five priorities identified by the EU Strategy and called for the Member States to put the fight against trafficking in human beings high in their polititcal agenda and to implement the new Directive and the new Strategy.

The morning session of the conference focused on the identification of future actions needed to eradicate this human rights violation and how to best deal with the growing challenges posed by trafficking in human beings. The results from the first year of the Joint Statement signed by the Heads of the EU Justice and Home Affairs agencies at last year’s 5th EU Anti-Trafficking Day were also presented.

The afternoon session was dedicated to the discussion of specific topics in working groups selected on the basis of the EU strategy priorities on Prevention: Reduction of Demand, Protection and assistance: EU Transnational Referral Mechanism, and Prosecution: Financial Investigations.

The conference also provided the opportunity for reflection on the forthcoming establishment in 2013 of an EU platform for civil society organisations and service providers working with victim protection and assistance in Member States and selected third countries, as set forth in the EU Strategy.

Administrative Officer
Agni Papageorgiou

Ministry of Interior
Human Trafficking, SCIFA, JHA
Telephone: +357 22867722

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