Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 33 n° 338

5 crucial areas to better support trafficked victims

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 20 Maggio 2016

victimesThe current migration situation is putting greater numbers of people at risk of being trafficked and exploited for prostitution, for crime or for work as they seek refuge from persecution or turmoil in their home countries. FRA’s latest summary report of migration-related fundamental rights concerns, throws the spotlight on five crucial areas that affect the prevention of trafficking and the protection of victims. Various EU and national laws and policies have been created to guard against human trafficking, most notably the EU Anti-Trafficking Directive. However, drawing on data from the nine Member States most affected by the migration flows, FRA has found different practices among Member States in five areas FRA considers crucial for better protecting trafficked victims. These include: Insufficient staff numbers and training to cope with the large number of migrants arriving poses difficulties when it comes to identifying victims of trafficking. For example, none of the nine countries used the initial health checks of newly-arrived migrants to identify victims. This can result in victims or those at risk not receiving the support they need or it is delayed, despite the provisions in EU laws.
Specific safeguards for vulnerable groups – unaccompanied children, women, asylum seekers, and people with specific needs such as a disability or who are traumatised – can be limited. When they exist, they tend to focus on children. Again staffing, time and other resource constraints, coupled with the lack of specific referral mechanisms, often have an impact on the support particularly vulnerable victims or those at risk receive.
NGOs provide general support, and in some cases specific assistance, in identifying and referring victims. However, NGOs have had difficulties accessing potential victims and NGO assistance can be ad hoc rather than regulated.
Guidance and training: All staff dealing with migrants such as police officers, border guards, lawyers, etc. should be trained in identifying and supporting trafficked victims. However, in practice, not all Member States provide regular training or guidance. In addition, support tools developed by other EU Agencies are not often used.
Information and support: Most Member States provide information material such as posters and flyers about the risks of trafficking and how they can be protected at registration and reception centres. In some countries, this information is only provided orally. Some have also created dedicated support hotlines. NGOs often help out in providing the information and support.
The report also notes a sharp increase in court cases against trafficking and smuggling while the true level of trafficking and smuggling is much higher than the number of prosecution cases indicates. However, as there are substantial differences between Member States in how trafficking and smuggling offences are criminalised, national figures are not comparable. It also appears prosecuting trafficking generally is more difficult than prosecuting smuggling-related offences or prostitution. Most Member States do not prosecute those who offer humanitarian support while smuggling unless payment was received.
FRA has been collecting data about the fundamental rights situation of people arriving in Member States that have been particularly affected by large migration movements, following a request from the European Commission. The countries covered are Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia and Sweden.FRA published weekly overviews from September to November 2015 which became monthly from January 2016. Each overview covers a variety of different issues, including:
initial registration and asylum applications, with particular attention to the situation of vulnerable people;
criminal proceedings initiated for offences related to irregular border crossing;
child protection;
reception conditions for new arrivals, focusing on the situation of children and other vulnerable people;
access to healthcare;
public response such as rallies of support, humanitarian assistance or voluntary work;
racist incidents such as demonstrations, online hate speech or hate crime.
While this month has a special section looking specifically at human trafficking, last month there was a section focusing on healthcare. The next monthly report will focus on gender. (photo: victims)

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