Last year, the EU designated October 18 as Anti-Trafficking Day noting it was an “important step in the European Commission’s long-standing commitment on preventing and fighting trafficking in human beings.”
The European Commission has concluded that while the EU has developed a dynamic process of approximation of legislation, both in the fields of criminal law and victims’ support, there is still a serious gap between legislation and implementation.
Vice-President Jacques Barrot, EU Commissioner responsible for Justice, Freedom and Security, stated: “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 people trafficked in Europe every year.”
The Commission is calling on the EU and member states to make an extra push in 2009, and commit themselves to implement a few anti-trafficking key-actions indicated in a document titled “Evaluation and monitoring of the implementation of the EU Plan on best practices, standards and procedures for combating and preventing trafficking in human beings,” that is being adopted today. The Commission then will assess countries improvement next year.