Contribution to the European Commission Consultation on Fighting Human Trafficking

Eurochild joins 11 other organisations calling on the EU to strengthen rules to prevent and fight child trafficking, including by recognising and addressing the link between child trafficking and orphanages

This revision is both timely and necessary. Due to overlapping crises, including ongoing wars, natural disasters, the COVID-19 pandemic, the refugee influx, and the economic and energy crisis, more and more children are at risk of separation and being placed in institutions. Children in institutions are particularly at risk of being targeted by traffickers, and have few, if any, recourses to turn to.

We see in this revision a long-awaited opportunity to further strengthen the Directive by adding a special mention of the phenomenon of institution-related trafficking and introducing specific measures to uphold the rights of all children, including children deprived of parental care.

Despite the evidence of human trafficking cases connected with institutions in the European context, the EU has never officially recognised the connection between trafficking and institutionalisation in its policies or legislation.

To effectively respond to trafficking:

  • the Directive should ensure that children from institutions are represented in the data collection mechanisms.
  • Preventive measures should also target children in institutions to tackle the immediate risk of trafficking for both children in institutions and care leavers.
  • The Directive must put an obligation on Member States to prioritise, support and facilitate the recovery of child victims in a family-based environment, whenever possible.

The joint contribution for the review of the EU Anti-Trafficking Directive has been endorsed by Eurochild, ECPAT, Terres des Hommes the Netherlands, the European Disability Forum, Missing Children Europe, International Social Service, Child Helpline International, Save the Children, LUMOS, Street Child, Child Identity Protection and Hope and Homes for Children.

Read the full contribution

Photo: Hope and Homes

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