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All JHA Agencies together against Trafficking in Human Beings

The Hague, 20 October 2011

Partnership, Prevention, Prosecution and Protection

On 18 October, all JHA Agencies of the European Union (European Police College, European Asylum Support Office, European Institute for Gender Equality, Eurojust, Europol, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, and Frontex) gathered in Warsaw to celebrate the EU’s 5th Anti-Trafficking Day, and to focus attention on the growing number of trafficking in human beings (THB) cases in Europe.

All Heads of Agencies involved signed a Joint Statement to show their firm intention to work closely together in the fight against this form of modern slavery.

This year’s Anti-Trafficking Day was the first since the publication of Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2011 on preventing and combating THB and protecting its victims. The Directive establishes minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offences and sanctions in the area of THB.

This year’s Anti-Trafficking Day was also the first Anti-Trafficking Day since the appointment of the Commission’s Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, Ms Myria Vassiliadou, and the establishment of the European Asylum Office.

The day’s events were co-organised by the Polish Presidency of the EU, the JHA Agencies and the Anti-Trafficking Coordinator. In addition to the Heads of the JHA Agencies and other experts, representatives from NGOs and other civil society organisations took part.

The main purpose of the meeting was to exchange views on strengthening co-operation between EU Agencies and other stakeholders in addressing THB, and to agree on more effective co-operation, making prevention, investigation and prosecution more successful while respecting human rights and the different national legislations of the European Union.

The joint approach will be focused on four “P”s:

  • Partnership with EU Member States, EU institutions and other civil society organisations;
  • Prevention of trafficking need to be improved;
  • Prosecution of perpetrators by more efficient investigations; and
  • Protection of victims in compliance with fundamental rights.

BACKGROUND

The EU Anti-Trafficking Day has been held on 18 October for the past five years, in the Member State holding the EU’s revolving presidency, currently Poland. The exact extent of THB globally is uncertain. Estimates vary widely, though a conservative UN estimate puts the figure at around $ 2.5 million. A UN working group on the subject describes THB as modern slavery that traps more people today than in the entire 400 years of the transatlantic slave trade.

Article 2 of the EC Directive defines THB as: “The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or reception of persons, including the exchange or transfer of control over those persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.”

The different forms of trafficking were defined as the exploitation of the prostitution of others, other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude, exploitation for activities associated with begging or for unlawful activities, and removal of organs.

The traffickers’ roles were divided into categories: recruiter, kidnapper, seller, buyer, transporter, harbourer, receiver, exploiter, document/ID facilitator, and other roles.

After the 5th EU Anti-Trafficking Day, Mr Aled Williams, President of Eurojust, commented: “Human trafficking causes misery across the European Union. It is vital to fight a crime which is truly inhuman in its contempt for the dignity and value of individual citizens both within and without the EU. Efficient and fair cross-border investigation and prosecution, with co-ordination from Eurojust and Europol, is an essential element of the response which this modern slavery demands.”

Click here to see the text of the Joint Statement.

For more information, please contact:

Mr Joannes THUY, Spokesperson - Head of Press & PR Service
EUROJUST, Maanweg 174, 2516 AB, The Hague, the Netherlands
Tel +31 70 412 5508
E-mail: jthuy[AT]eurojust.europa.eu