Por Soraya Rodríguez Ramos

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Meeting of the European Network of National Rapporteurs and Coordinators against Trafficking in Human Beings

On 25 April, MEP Soraya Rodríguez Ramos participated in the opening of the meeting of the EU Network of National Rapporteurs and Equivalent Mechanisms on Trafficking in human beings. The meeting was organised by the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator and the Swedish Presidency. Its aim was to address the international dimension of trafficking in human beings, bringing together more than 100 people, expert representatives from Member States, the European Commission, the European External Action Service (EEAS), EU agencies and international organisations.

The MEP was invited by EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator Diane Schmitt for her role as co-rapporteur of the report on the implementation of the 2011 Directive on combating trafficking in human beings by the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM); as Chair of the Delegation for relations with the Pan-African Parliament. 

High-level speakers from the European Commission, the European External Action Service and the Swedish Presidency participated in the event. In particular, Ylva Johansson, European Commissioner for Home Affairs; Charlotte Kugelberg, State Secretary, Ministry of Justice of Sweden; and Eamon Gilmore, European Union Special Representative for Human Rights.

In her speech, Soraya Rodríguez highlighted the following points: 

Strengthening cooperation

Strengthen cooperation with third countries of origin and transit of victims, as well as with international and regional partners, including international organisations, such as the United Nations.

The latest report by the United Nations Office on Drugs notes that countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are condemning fewer traffickers and detecting fewer victims of trafficking compared to the rest of the world. However, at the same time, victims in these regions are increasingly identified in a greater number of destination countries compared to other victims from other regions. We must support the adoption of a coordinated and regional approach with response mechanisms to deter organised groups, share good practices and assist in procedures for more proactive identification of victims.

Data collection and monitoring

Establishing national mechanisms for the collection of data on victims of trafficking in human beings in international protection procedures is one of the gaps we have in combating trafficking. The Commission has proposed to oblige Member States to collect data on trafficking in human beings and to report annually to the Commission on such statistics.

The EU Strategy and the revision of the Anti-Trafficking Directive want to improve the recording and collection of data to ensure that reliable and comparable information is available to develop effective policies and also to be able to address the external dimension of trafficking more strategically and efficiently

Continue fighting the lawsuit

Customers are a key player in this crime. Without demand, there would be no human trafficking. As in any other business, demand is the basis of the system: it perpetuates it and makes it lucrative. In this regard, the Commission’s proposal to criminalise the conscious use of services provided by victims of trafficking is an important step in the right direction. 

Ending impunity on the net

There is a need to end the high degree of impunity for these crimes and increase sentences. The EU should invest in the development of digital research capacities, including the collection of electronic evidence. It is already a reality that online recruitment is a trend with an important international dimension, so we must be prepared to face it and limit its impact. 

Combating money laundering 

Member States should work with money laundering specialists when starting a new investigation into trafficking in human beings and should have greater cooperation in blocking and confiscating the assets of persons involved. Also in matters relating to the compensation of victims, allocating the proceeds forfeiture to support their assistance and protection.

Watch the streaming of the opening session

Soraya Rodríguez Ramos

Mujeres al frente es un espacio de reflexión dirigido por la política y abogada española Soraya Rodríguez Ramos. Desde 2019, es diputada del Parlamento Europeo en la delegación del partido Ciudadanos. Desde su escaño de eurodiputada, desarrolla un intenso trabajo como portavoz en Igualdad de Género y Derechos de la Mujer del grupo Renew Europe, así como miembro del Comité de Derechos Humanos y de la Comisión de Medio Ambiente por su compromiso con el cuidado del planeta y la justicia climática.