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New Approaches Towards Human Trafficking in the EU: Raising Awareness and Developing Integrated Action

The problem of Human Trafficking is an increasingly disturbing phenomenon in Europe with terrible consequences for victims, the majority of which are forced into prostitution, street crime, domestic servitude or other forms of labour exploitation. Furthermore, as well as devastating the lives of individuals, this crime has far-reaching implications for the social, economic and organisational fabric of every affected community in Europe.

Recently, several reports have highlighted the urgent need to raise public awareness of trafficking, improve training in order to better identify victims, and develop better institutional co-operation and multi-agency working – all critical in the fight against trafficking, which alarmingly includes large numbers of children. In order to tackle its multi-level and cross-border roots effectively, a multidisciplinary and comparative approach at EU and national level is required, alongside a renewed political will to combat this problem.

With latest statistics indicating that little progress has been made in tackling human trafficking in the EU, this special International Symposium, hosted by the Centre for Parliamentary Studies, offers an invaluable opportunity for local, regional and national authorities to gather comparative knowledge, discuss the latest challenges and share examples of cross-border best practices. Tackling human trafficking in new and innovative ways requires action on several levels:

  • An appraisal of current policy initiatives and priorities of the EU
  • Delineation of existing co-operation and multi-agency frameworks at local, national and trans-national levels
  • Identify gaps and explore possible solutions for creating more robust and integrated multi-level structures to improve co-ordination and information exchange between statutory authorities
  • Analyse and learn from tangible examples of best practices in different member states to establish recommendations for future actions

In order to encourage greater political will, facilitate policy discussion and explore comprehensive and integrated solutions to tackling human trafficking, the Centre for Parliamentary Studies is proud to host this first event as part of a series of international conferences aimed at raising awareness of this ‘hidden’ crime and welcomes the participation of all key partners, responsible authorities and stakeholders. The Symposium will support the exchange of ideas and encourage delegates to engage in thought-provoking topical debate.


9:00 Registration & Morning Refreshments
10:00 Chair’s Welcome and Opening Remarks

Brice De Ruyver PhD, Professor of Criminal Law, University of Ghent (confirmed)
10:10 EU Policy Priorities to Combat Human Trafficking
  • The economics of human trafficking – challenges posed by the transnational phenomenon
  • Reinforcing efforts to implement best practices through co-ordinated EU approach
  • Preventive measures, constitutive actions and future plans
  • Racism, migration and integration policies within the EU
  • Tackling stock of trends in human trafficking
  • Risks undermining our fundamental values
Speaker: Ms. Sabine Zwaenepoel, Deputy Head of Unite, Fight against Organised Crime, DG JFC, European Commission (confirmed)
10:40 First Round of Discussions
11:00 Morning Coffee Break
11:20 Human Trafficking in Member States; Developing Integrated Action
  • Identifying the right partners in Europe – co-operation challenges
  • Collaboration and institutionalised communication with national agencies, local agencies & partners – differences & challenges ahead
  • Tackling the entire trafficking chain and identifying the root causes of trafficking
  • Broader policy on migration – contribution in reducing and preventing human trafficking
  • Simplifying and co-ordinating judicial procedures at national level
Speaker: Mrs. Monica Zanette, Project Manager, Counter Trafficking, International Organisation for Migration (confirmed)
11:50 Second Round of Discussions
12:10 Networking Lunch
13:10 Protecting Victims of Human Trafficking: Raising Awareness of International and Cross-Border Issues
  • Defining the international protection needs of victims of human trafficking
  • Applicable international and European standards
  • UNHCR’s interest and activities in tackling human trafficking
  • How gender and age affect vulnerability to and experience of trafficking
  • Identifying and referring victims of trafficking to appropriate services
  • Strengthening cooperation between different actors involved in combating human trafficking
  • Ensuring access to asylum procedures
Mrs. Frances Nicholson, Senior Legal Adviser, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Regional Representation for Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Switzerland, UK (confirmed)
13:50 Third Round of Discussions
14:10 Short Break
14:20 Comparative Case Study: Regional vs. National Approach towards Human Trafficking in the EU
  • Increasing the profile of the scale of human trafficking at the highest level of the EU – Fundamental Right Agency approach
  • Regional Approach Towards Child Trafficking as a case study – existing gaps, general challenges, future perspectives and good practices
  • Human Trafficking at national level – the CEOOR experience and latest developments
  • A need for future raising awareness activities at regional and national levels
Dr. Niraj Nathwani, Programme Manager Legal Research, FRALEX Co-ordinator, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (confirmed)
Mr. Jozef De Witte - Director, Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism (CEOOR) in Belgium (confirmed)
15:20 Fourth Round of Discussions
15:40 Chair's Summary and Closing Remarks
15:50 Networking Reception and Refreshments
17:00 Conference Close

Who Should Attend?

  • Police Service, Police Authorities
  • Interpol
  • Missing Persons Units
  • Diplomatic Missions
  • EU Officials
  • Border Agency Staff
  • Visa & Consular Sections in National Administrations
  • Port & Airport Authorities
  • Travel & Transportation Industry
  • Licensing Enforcement Officers
  • Housing Officials
  • Children & Youth Services
  • Social Services
  • Public Health Practitioners
  • Asylum & Refugee Groups
  • Domestic Violence Co-ordinators
  • Crime Reduction Partnerships
  • Alcohol & Drug Action Teams
  • Victim Support Organisations
  • Local, Regional & National Authorities
  • Local Authority Officers & Councillors
  • Governmental Departments & Agencies
  • School Authorities & Local Education Welfare Authorities
  • Workers & Employers Confederations
  • Beer, Pub and Club Industry
  • Licensed Entertainment Industry & Private Sector Organisations
  • Media Organisations
  • Academics & Research Institutes
  • Migration Organisations
  • Criminal Justice Specialists
  • Judges & Magistrates
  • Legal Professionals
  • Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences
  • Faith Groups
  • Equality & Human Rights Practitioners
  • NGOs
A picture of a vulnerable Asican child with the words 'not for sale' superimposed
Wednesday 18th November 2009
Radisson Blu EU Hotel, Brussels

Register your place

“Trafficking in persons shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of 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 of the giving or receiving payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs …”
Article 3, Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children, United Nations, 2000
“Although the Commission, the Council and Member States have been active in the field of anti-trafficking policy, the factual situation shows substantial weaknesses. Figures concerning criminal proceedings are not high enough. Trafficking is still a high profit and low risk crime. As to victims' assistance and protection, only a few countries have adopted policies that can be considered a real response to the estimated scale of the criminal phenomenon, meaning hundred thousands trafficked in Europe every year.”

“We are aware that trafficking victims are often the most vulnerable, be third country or EU nationals. Very often they are children exploited in prostitution, labour, servitude, begging, illicit activities. To protect their fundamental rights is an absolute imperative, and is also in the interest of justice.”

“The Commission calls on the EU and Member States to make an extra push in 2009, and commit themselves to implement a few anti-trafficking key-actions ...”
Vice-President Jacques Barrot, EU Commissioner, October 2008