Common Anti-Trafficking Plan for Victims of Ukraine War
On 11 May 2022, the EU Solidarity Platform presented its Common Anti-Trafficking Plan. As a result, the Solidarity Platform aims to address the risks of trafficking in human beings and support potential victims. The Plan has been developed by Diane Schmitt (EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator) together with EU and national authorities.
The Plan builds on the EU Strategy on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, presented by the European Commission on 14 April 2021, and follows the EU Anti-trafficking Directive (Directive 2011/36/EU). It fulfills one of the points of the 10-Point Plan for stronger European coordination on welcoming people fleeing the war from Ukraine, presented at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 28 March 2022. The implementation of the plan will be coordinated by the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, who will work closely with other bodies and entities, such as the National Rapporteurs and Equivalent Mechanisms, representatives of Ukraine and Moldova, the EU Civil Society Platform against trafficking in human beings, the EU's justice and home affairs agencies, and the European Labour Authority.
The Plan set out five main objectives, which will be pursued through concrete actions at EU level and through recommendations to EU Member States:
- Strengthening awareness raising on the risks of trafficking in human beings and setting up helplines: this will include provision of relevant information through emergency helplines and material, e.g. leaflets and posters, and the setting up of dedicated websites, apps and awareness raising campaigns;
- Reinforcing prevention against trafficking in human beings: examples here are security checks of the entities and individuals offering accommodation and checks of the suitability of the offered accommodation, if allowed under national law;
- Enhancing the law enforcement and judicial response to trafficking in human beings: in this context, the European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats (EMPACT) will strengthen actions in order to address trafficking in human beings in relation to people fleeing Ukraine. Member States should, inter alia, make full use of existing instruments for operational cooperation, report all suspicious cases and launched investigations to Europol via SIENA, and systematically exchange data on investigations on human trafficking related to the war in Ukraine;
- Improving the early identification, support and protection of victims of trafficking in human beings: actions in this regard will include unconditional assistance, support and protection measures set forth in the EU Anti-trafficking Directive as soon as the authorities have reasonable-grounds for believing that the person may have been exploited as well as programmes addressing the long-term needs of victims in view of their recovery and reintegration;
- Addressing the risks of trafficking in human beings in non-EU countries, especially Ukraine and Moldova.
The report concludes that, while these measures need to be further reinforced within the EU and externally, it is now important to focus on the detection, investigation and prosecution of potential cases of trafficking.
The Solidarity Platform is the main EU coordination and operational mechanism set up immediately after the war in Ukraine started. It brings together representatives of EU countries, Schengen Associated Member States, EU Agencies, Ukrainian authorities, and partners such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNHCR.