Trafficking in human beings (THB) is a serious and fast-growing crime area that affects millions of innocent people around the world and involves the severe violation of fundamental human rights. Human traffickers control and exploit vulnerable victims and make use of threats, force, fraud, deception or abduction. Traffickers predominantly capitalise on sexual and labour exploitation, often targeting individuals with limited education or financial means.
The many sensitivities around THB cases, combined with the often complex nature of these activities, present clear challenges to national authorities during the investigation and prosecution stage. The crimes are typically committed by organised crime groups (OCGs) who may have ample resources and sophisticated ways of working, and whose profits may be hard to track and confiscate. Furthermore, THB activities are, by their very nature, transnational, often taking place across multiple jurisdictions, while the involvement of non-EU states may create additional difficulties for national authorities in the Member States.
Located in The Hague, Eurojust, the EU Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation, is a unique facility that enables prosecutors, investigative judges and other judicial practitioners in the EU Member States to work together to tackle serious cross-border crime, including THB. Each Member State has a National Member at Eurojust; this unique structure enables Eurojust to effectively coordinate parallel investigations in several countries where victims are recruited, exploited and transported through or moved.