On the occasion of the 6th EU Anti-Trafficking Day, the conference entitled ‘Working Together towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings: The Way Forward’ will take place on Thursday October 18 in Brussels. 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, will participate in the conference, which will be open to journalists.
The conference, which is organised by the European Commission and the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the EU, aims to bring together high level policy makers, government officials from all Member States, representatives of civil society organisations, experts and front line workers. Discussions will focus on future steps to strengthen cooperation and partnerships, reinforce prevention, victim protection and assistance as well as the prosecution of offenders.
The EU Anti-Trafficking Day was established by the European Commission in 2007 and is marked on October 18 of every year. The main purpose has been to raise awareness of trafficking in human beings and increase the exchange of information, knowledge and best practices amongst the different actors working in this field. Each year, the respective EU Presidencies, together with the European Commission and Member States, organise events to mark this day at the European and the national level. Outcomes from EU level events include the recommendations on the identification and referral to services of victims of trafficking in human beings (2007), input to the Action Oriented Paper on strengthening the external dimension on actions against trafficking in human beings (2009) and the Joint Statement of the Heads of EU Justice and Home Affairs Agencies (2011).
The first criminal law instrument
Trafficking in human beings remains a serious issue in the European Union, with an estimated 880,000 victims of forced labour, including forced sexual exploitation. That is 1.8 persons per 1,000 inhabitants. The political commitment of Member States to act is reflected in Directive 2011/36/EU on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims, the first EU criminal law instrument under the Lisbon Treaty. Once fully transposed by the Member States, by April 6 2013, this EU level legislation is expected to have considerable impact. The Directive takes a strong human-rights, gender, victim-centred approach and focuses, on an equal level, on prevention, protection, prosecution and assistance to victims in a comprehensive manner.
On June 19, 2012, the Commission adopted a new and integrated strategy, which is time-bound and sets out a series of thirty concrete and tangible measures to be taken by the European Commission, Member States, and EU Agencies. The EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings 2012-2016 identifies five priority areas:
- identifying, protecting and assisting victims of trafficking;
- prevention of human trafficking including the reduction of demand;
- increased prosecution of traffickers;
- enhanced coordination, cooperation and policy coherence;
- increased knowledge and response to trafficking in human beings.
Within the framework of the conference, emphasis will be placed on the implementation of these commitments and translating the work from the EU level to the national level as well as discussing the possibilities of ensuring that all relevant stakeholders are engaged and involved in the implementation of the various policy initiatives in a multidisciplinary and coherent manner.
A press conference will be held in Albert Borschette Conference Center room CCAB OA at 13:00 on Thursday 18 October.
Ministry of Interior
EU Affairs Unit
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