Experts in the trafficking of human beings (THB) are meeting at Eurojust in The Hague on 16 and 17 April to discuss action against this persistent problem. The meeting provides practitioners with a forum to discuss challenges, practical issues and Eurojust’s role.
Eurojust’s strategic project on THB is the focus of the meeting, while the objectives are to discuss judicial challenges in investigating and prosecuting THB cases, particularly addressing difficulties in the hearing and protection of victims and witnesses, the investigation and prosecution of cases of labour exploitation, the use of the Internet and financial investigations.
The keynote speech was delivered by Ms Myria Vassiliadou, the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, who discussed the work of the EU in addressing trafficking in human beings.
Mr Lukáš Starý, National Member for the Czech Republic and Eurojust’s THB Contact Point, commented: ‘This is an important meeting and allows us to debate current issues affecting THB cases; such meetings also provide direction to Eurojust and practitioners and establish a better understanding of the issues. THB is a priority for Eurojust and we are already performing excellent and vital work in this area. With these meetings we remain informed, strengthen our effectiveness and show human traffickers that we are very much in pursuit of them.'
The EU and trafficking
Eurostat recently published a working paper on THB that serves to highlight the importance of fighting this crime. Between 2010 and 2012, 30 146 victims were registered in the 28 Member States. Of these, 80% were female. Over the same period, the Member States reported 8 805 prosecutions for trafficking in human beings. The EU’s work in this field can be found here.