The EU finally launched a new Anti-Trafficking Strategy on 14 March 2021
The EU Strategy on Combating Trafficking in human beings was long awaited and finally published on 14 March 2021. The Strategy puts forward a comprehensive response to combating trafficking in human beings, from prevention through protection of victims to prosecution and conviction of traffickers. It proposes concrete actions aimed at:
-reducing demand for trafficking and all forms of exploitation
-breaking the criminal model to halt victims’ exploitation
-protecting, supporting and empowering victims, especially women and children
-to deepen cooperation across the international dimension
Child rights based and gender sensitive approach:
The strategy emphasizes the gender specific nature of human trafficking and reiterates that trafficking for sexual exploitation – which is the most prevalent form of exploitation – is a form of gender-based violence, rooted in gender inequalities. It also refers to the fact that nearly a quarter of all victims of trafficking are children and that most of the child victims are EU citizens and trafficked for sexual exploitation. In the strategy, the Commission commits to promote activities such as gender-sensitive and child-rights based trainings for professionals likely to come into contact with victims, developing guidelines, toolkits and exchanging best practices among practitioners.
Trafficking and sexual exploitation online:
The strategy also highlights the effects the pandemic has had in contributing to traffickers moving to a new business model of online recruitment and exploitation of victims, and that children are at particular risk of falling victim to traffickers online. To address this, the Commission will facilitate the creation of a focus group of specialised prosecutors against trafficking in human beings to particularly address the judicial challenges of online trafficking and conduct a dialogue with relevant internet and technology companies to reduce the use of online platforms for the recruitment and exploitation of victims. The Commission will also accompany possible similar dialogues to be conducted by Member States at national level.
The strategy successfully addresses the cross-sectoral nature of human trafficking, including the various aspects of child trafficking for sexual exploitation which Child10 is sepcifically focused on. Key now is to ensure implementation and the necessary follow up by EU Member States.