Joint statement of the Heads of the EU Justice and Home Affairs Agencies

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19 October 2011

The EU’s fifth Anti-Trafficking day will be held in Warsaw on Tuesday, October 18, 2011. The event—subtitled “Together Against Trafficking in Human Beings”—will provide participants with a platform for the exchange of views on strengthening cooperation between EU Agencies and other stakeholders in addressing trafficking in human beings (THB). The centrepiece of the day’s agenda will be a debate between the directors of EU Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Agencies involved in the fight against trafficking in human beings, moderated by the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, under the title “EU Member States and Agencies jointly addressing THB and victim protection.” This year’s Anti-Trafficking Day will be the first since the publication in March this year of EU Directive 2011/36/EU on prevention and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims, which aims to create a coherent pan-European approach to the problem. It will also be the first since the establishment this year of the position of EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator and the European Asylum Office.

In addition to the central debate, there will be three workshops dedicated to the themes of prevention of THB, protection of victims and the investigation and prosecution of perpetrators. Each workshop will be co-chaired by representatives of EU Agencies involved in the relevant aspect of the fight against THB.

Frontex will co-chair the workshop on prevention together with CEPOL, the European Police College.

For a provisional agenda, click here

EU Anti-Trafficking Day has been held on 18 October for the last five years, in the Member State holding the EU’s revolving presidency, currently Poland. The first Anti-Trafficking Day took place in 2007. This year’s event is jointly organised by the Polish EU Presidency, the European Commission, The EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator and seven EU Agencies: CEPOL, the EU Asylum Support Office (EASO), the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), Europol, Eurojust, the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) and Frontex. Representatives of Non-Governmental Organisations, international organisations and academia involved in the field will also take part.

THB Facts and Figures

The exact extent of THB globally is not known for sure and estimates vary widely though a conservative UN estimate puts the figure at around 2.5 million. Described by a UN working group on the subject, THB is described as modern slavery that traps more people today than in the entire 400 years of the transatlantic slave trade. Moreover, according to Blue Blindfold, a UK-based THB awareness and prevention campaign, THB is the third largest source of income for organised crime groups and growing even faster than trafficking in illegal arms and drugs.

“According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), about 12.3 million people worldwide are in forced labour, bonded labour, forced child labour or sexual servitude at any given time. Other estimates range between 4 million and 27 million. According to US government-sponsored research, about 800,000 people are trafficked across national boundaries each year, about 80% of whom are women and girls and “up to 50%” are children.” House of Commons Home Affairs Committee, The Trade in Human Beings: Human Trafficking in the UK, Sixth Report of Session 2008–09 Volume I

Article 2 of the EC Directive on THB defines trafficking in human beings 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.”

According to a Frontex Risk Analysis report, Situational Overview on Trafficking in Human Beings, 6,991 potential victims of trafficking were reported by 27 countries in 2009, up 34% on the 2008 figure of 5,200 potential victims. Of the total, almost 25% of identified victims were men and 15% were minors.

The types of trafficking were defined as follows:

  • 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 as follows:

  • Recruiter;
  • Kidnapper;
  • Seller;
  • Buyer;
  • Transporter;
  • Harbourer;
  • Receiver;
  • Exploiter;
  • Document/ID Facilitator; and
  • Other


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