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EU Agencies present first full overview of actions to detect and protect victims of human trafficking

The European Union agencies active in the field of justice and home affairs have presented the first full overview of actions to help victims of trafficking in human beings. The main operational activities are listed in a joint report of the Justice and Home Affairs Agencies Network (JHAAN) published today at the occasion of EU Anti-Trafficking Day under the leadership of Eurojust. The report is a key building block of the EU Strategy on combatting trafficking in human beings and serves as a key reference document for national authorities engaged in tackling human trafficking.

“Human trafficking is a blight on humanity and has no place in society,” said Michael O’Flaherty, Director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). “As EU agencies, we stand together working to eradicate the suffering and exploitation of vulnerable people who fall victim to unscrupulous traffickers. This report underlines our joint commitment and showcases the practical steps we are taking to end this shameful and illegal practice.”

During the Eurojust Presidency of the JHAAN, for the first time, a compendium was made of all different actions taken by CEPOL, EASO, EIGE, eu-LISA, Eurojust, Europol, FRA and Frontex, to reach out to victims of human trafficking at all stages of prevention, investigations, operations and legal proceedings. The initiative is a concrete result following the Joint Statement of commitment to work together against trafficking in human beings , signed in 2018.

The JHAAN report of today aims to make Member States more aware of the Agencies’ potential in helping the early identification and protection of victims. Furthermore, it encourages them to cooperate closely with the Agencies involved in this area and to build on their expertise. The report responds to one of the key actions of the EU Strategy on Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings 2021-2025.

The report is the result of a questionnaire sent to all agencies and the outcome of a meeting of JHAAN experts, hosted by Eurojust in June this year. It builds on two important strands in the process of investigating criminal networks involved in human trafficking, namely the early identification of victims and measures and actions for their protection.

FRA supports EU Member States respect the fundamental rights of all trafficked victims, including children. Based on information collected, it offers advice on how to improve the condition of victims. It also assesses and provides guidance on the early identification of trafficked victims at the EU borders. This includes training on victims’ rights.