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The Association International Forum of Solidarity - EMMAUS (IFS-EMMAUS) in cooperation with the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina/Department for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, is ...


European Resource Center

Human trafficking: MEPs call on EU member states to protect victims better

EU member states should do more to protect victims of human trafficking, especially women, and take gender-specific prevention, assistance and support measures to help them, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Thursday. The text points out that EU legislation to protect victims of trafficking is not being properly enforced.

"Progress has been made in the fight against international trafficking gangs, but all too often victims are not being given the help they are entitled to under EU law, said rapporteur Catherine Bearder (ALDE, UK)."EU-wide measures to tackle this vile trade must be fully implemented by national governments, including the proper collection of statistics and identification of victims to give us a clearer view of the real picture", she added.

The resolution, approved by 391 votes to 43, with 53 abstentions, underlines that the European Commission has failed to keep to the timetable of assessment reporting required by the directive.

Women and children are especially vulnerable to trafficking

According to Europol, about 10,000 unaccompanied children have disappeared since arriving in the EU in 2015. Children should be registered upon their arrival and included in child protection systems, says the text.

To discourage the demand that drives trafficking for sexual exploitation, MEPs stress that the burden of proof in criminal cases should rest with those who purchase sexual services of trafficked persons, rather than with those who sell them.

Identify victims early and grant them rights

MEPs call on EU member states to ensure that police, the judiciary, medical staff and social workers all receive adequate training, so that they can identify vulnerable victims early and offer them the support they need. This includes accommodation, medical treatment, translation, legal counselling, including for the purpose of claiming compensation, and a recovery period of at least 30 days.

In order to ensure that support and assistance are provided, member states should grant victims residence permits and access to the labour market in the member state to which they were trafficked, says the text.

"To help to ensure that victims of trafficking receive adequate support and assistance to get their lives back on track, member states should grant victims residence permits and access to their labour markets. Furthermore, victims of trafficking are often required to give evidence in criminal cases against traffickers and therefore they need to be present, which is not always possible under the current rules", concluded Ms Bearder.


EU supports global action to address human trafficking

The European Union together with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and International Organization for Migration (IOM) joined forces with the government to officially launch the “Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants Program” in Vientiane Wednesday.

EU Chargé d’Affaires Michel Goffin, Unicef Country Representative Hongwei Gao, Director of United Nations Social and Economic Division, Department of International Organizations, Daovy Vongxay, IOM Representative Damien Kilner and Crime Prevention Expert, Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section, UNODC Mrs Silke Albert, addressed the meeting to officially launch the programme in Laos.

The program is a four-year (2015-2019) joint initiative that will be implemented by UNODC, IOM and Unicef in partnership with the local government authorities in 13 countries across the world including Laos and will be focused on assistance to authorities, civil society organisations and victims of trafficking and smuggling.

This joint initiative will assist countries to develop and implement effective responses to trafficking in people and the smuggling of migrants. The dual prevention and protection approach has been adopted and includes six key actions such as strategy and policy development, legislative assistance, capacity building, regional and trans-regional cooperation, protections and assistance to victims of trafficking and smuggled migrants and assistance and support to children among victims of trafficking and smuggled migrants.

“The EU considers that trafficking is the slavery of our time. Trafficking in human beings is a severe violation of fundamental rights. It is also a serious form of organized crime, driven by very high profits and sustained by a high demand for the services of its victims. It affects women and men, girls and boys, and causes profound and often life-long harm to victims and communities,” Goffin said in his address.

“The EU contributes 10 million euros to this global action and the Delegation has actively lobbied for Laos to be among the recipient countries, and we are looking forward to seeing the successful implementation of this programme in Laos,” he added. At the meeting, participants were informed about the programme overview, findings from the programme’s consultative mission and action plan for Laos, while representatives from Laos’ Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare presented the Ministry activities for assisting human trafficking victims and safe migration as well as challenges the country faces in dealing with this matter.


Putting Human Trafficking Out of Business

$150 billion. According to the International Labour Organization, that’s the revenue generated by each year by forced labor for those who place more value on profit than people. From sex traffickers making a business out of prostitution, to international corporations relying on forced labor to keep costs down, every day an estimated 21 million men, women and children around the world are exploited in silence. That’s the equivalent of the amount of people living in New York, London and Paris together.

Of the many kinds of forced labor, sex trafficking grabs the most headlines. Yet, labor trafficking on both a local and international scale remains hidden in the shadows. The Polaris Project, which operates the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline, has received more than 4,000 reports of labor trafficking in the United States since 2007.

Labor trafficking is more challenging to investigate and prosecute than sex trafficking. The sale of sexual services is illegal in the United States, therefore police and prosecutors have much stronger authority to investigate whether a sex worker has been trafficked. If so they have the power to go after and prosecute those responsible for the crime. But forced labor is much harder to detect, and as a result, law enforcement must often rely on referrals from third parties, such as non-governmental organizations or foreign consulates - rather than build cases from the ground up.

Thankfully, there are many non-profit organizations dedicated to identifying and helping victims of labor trafficking. What we need now is for private businesses to join in.

Multi-national companies can play an essential role in the fight against forced labor: they have the power to trigger immediate change for workers by simply switching suppliers, by enforcing better auditing, and by increasing accountability.

Many corporations are already assisting in the fight. In 2014, our working group provided the financial services industry with guidance on identifying and reporting transactions that might be linked to human trafficking. Some of the world’s leading financial institutions adopted the group’s recommendations, including American Express, Bank of America, Citigroup, and JP Morgan Chase. These companies have expressed a willingness to be proactive, to identify red flags, and to help prosecutors build cases.

Financial intelligence is only the first step. Now, we have to tackle forced labor within corporations themselves.

No industry is untouched. Global outsourcing makes it easier for employers to take advantage of vulnerable workers, and harder for corporations to monitor and regulate the working conditions of those at the bottom of their supply chain. As a result, some goods made by forced labor can land undetected onto America’s shelves, making consumers unwilling accomplices.

Some progress is being made. High-profile multinational corporations have conducted bold internal audits in their supply chains. Many are now working transparently to get things right.

Recent legislative victories are also encouraging. President Obama’s administration recently closed an 85-year-old loophole in the 1930 Tariff Act by banning the importation of 136 goods produced by forced labor from 74 different countries. And a promising bipartisan bill, the Business Supply Chain Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act, would require companies that gross more than $100 million each year to disclose the steps they’ve taken to address trafficking in their supply chains.

But more must be done. Imagine the impact on a global scale if the world’s biggest corporations formally committed to eradicating forced labor in their supply chains.

That’s why, together with world-renowned artist Sir Anish Kapoor, the Thomson Reuters Foundation created the Stop Slavery Award: to honor businesses going above and beyond to ensure that their suppliers are not exploiting their workers or profiting off of forced labor.

The idea behind the Award is simple: to spark a virtuous cycle that will trigger more corporations to take action to investigate, improve, and eradicate unfair and illegal labor practices in their supply chains. The Award will also encourage consumers to make informed and responsible decisions on what goods they decide to buy.

Profits should never come at the expense of human rights. It’s time for companies to step up and protect the people who enhance their bottom line. Together we can put the business of human trafficking out of business.

The Stop Slavery Award is an initiative of the Thomson Reuters Foundation with pro bono support from law firm Baker & McKenzie. The first Stop Slavery Award winners will be honored at this year’s Trust Women Conference, to be held on November 30th in London. For more information visit


Glasgow police raids in human trafficking inquiry

Police in the Glasgow area have raided four properties as part of an investigation into human trafficking.

Officers were acting in cooperation with the Romanian police and Europol. The raids took place on Friday.

One man has been arrested in connection with brothel keeping and serious and organised crime. He is expected to appear at Glasgow Sheriff Court on Monday.

Another man is the subject of a report to the procurator fiscal.

A police spokesman said: "As part of an ongoing investigation into Human Trafficking and Serious and Organised Crime, Police Scotland, supported by a number of partner organisations, as well as Romanian police and Europol, visited four properties in the Glasgow area on Friday 8 April 2016.

"A 29 year old male has been arrested and detained in custody in connection with Brothel Keeping and Serious and Organised Crime.

"A 35 year old male will be the subject of a report to the Procurator Fiscal."


EU must be proactive about human smugglers: Dutch minister

European ministers have to be proactive to prevent human smugglers coming up with new ways to bring people into the European Union, Dutch junior immigration minister Klaas Dijkhoff said in Brussels on Thursday. The minister was in Belgium to discuss the refugee crisis with other EU ministers following the tentative deal with Turkey and the closure of the border with Macedonia. In particular, the ministers said Greece needs urgent support to deal with the large number of refugees who are now being held at the border. As many as 10,000 people are said to be waiting at Idomeni to cross into the Balkans. Tineke Ceelen, director of Dutch aid group Stichting Vluchteling, said on Thursday that the situation at the border is terrible and that women and children are sleeping in wet tents and mud after heavy rain. ‘This is the most shameful thing I have seen in years,’ Ceelen told news website ‘These are African conditions in Europe. All the tents are flooded and every child you pick up is soaking. One woman, about to give birth, is lying in a wet tent.’


10,000 refugee children are missing, says Europol

The EU’s criminal intelligence agency warns pan-European gangs are targeting minors for sex work and slavery

At least 10,000 unaccompanied child refugees have disappeared after arriving in Europe, according to the EU’s criminal intelligence agency. Many are feared to have fallen into the hands of organised trafficking syndicates.

In the first attempt by law enforcement agencies to quantify one of the most worrying aspects of the migrant crisis, Europol’s chief of staff told the Observer that thousands of vulnerable minors had vanished after registering with state authorities.

Brian Donald said 5,000 children had disappeared in Italy alone, while another 1,000 were unaccounted for in Sweden. He warned that a sophisticated pan-European “criminal infrastructure” was now targeting refugees. “It’s not unreasonable to say that we’re looking at 10,000-plus children. Not all of them will be criminally exploited; some might have been passed on to family members. We just don’t know where they are, what they’re doing or whom they are with.”

Read more: 10,000 refugee children are missing, says Europol

Safer Internet Day 2016 in Bosnia and Herzegovina

As in previous years, the International Forum of Solidarity – EMMAUS will join the celebration of the Safer Internet Day 2016 on February 9, under the motto “Play your part for a better internet!”. SID activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina will be carried out by the SID Committee BiH, in cooperation with respective local and regional stakeholders, industry partners and Insafe. The aim of these activities is to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially among children and young people.

SID 2016 will be celebrated in cooperation with the Safer Internet Center Croatia - the Center for Missing and Exploited Children (CNZD) Osijek, regional CSO partner. This will represent the continuation of successful cooperation from previous two years when SID was regionally promoted among target groups through the implementation of an online competition for children aged 10-14.

This year’s competition shall invite elementary school children of 5th – 9th grade to participate in an online quiz addressing various questions of internet safety. The quiz will be accessible online on February 9, 2016 in the period between 09:00 – 19:00 hours CET. Scholars will have the opportunity to access the quiz several times in trying to reach the highest possible score by answering the questions as correctly as possible. Participants who score above 80% of accuracy will automatically enter the 2nd selection phase. The winners – one 1st place, three 2nd places and two 3rd places - shall be selected randomly by the system following the quiz end at 19:00 hours, out of the number of participants who scored above 80% of accuracy, whereby the 1st place will be selected of participants who scored 100%.

During the competition, the participants and the wider public will be able to follow quiz participation by geographical coverage through an interactive map on the specialized web site created for SID celebration purposes The site shall also be used to promote SID and respective activities organized on that day with the wider audience, specifically targeting children. In addition, SID Committee BiH and respective stakeholders shall promote the celebration and related activities with the Ministries of Education in BiH and schools across the country, to reach a wider target audience and animate children to take part in these activities, therewith raising public awareness on internet safety.

Following the competition celebrating SID 2016 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the International Forum of Solidarity – EMMAUS and partners will organize an Official Awards Ceremony for the quiz winners. The ceremony will be organized in one of the primary schools in BiH, whereby the winners will be awarded by respective awards that include: tablets, mobile phones, headsets, keyboard sets, web cameras, pre-paid mobile phone cards and other prizes.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the celebration of the SID is organized by the Safer Internet Day Committee (BiH SID Committee), a body formed in 2011 with the aim of implementing awareness raising and prevention activities for children and youth on the safer use of information and communication technologies. This body was established by the International Forum of Solidarity – EMMAUS (IFS-EMMAUS) in coordination with Insafe. The committee is chaired by the State Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and Illegal Migration, and hosts representatives of the Communication of Regulatory Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Save the Children, OneWorldSEE and Microsoft BiH. Safer Internet Day is just one in a series of activities that these organizations, individually and jointly are implementing with the aim of educating children and parents on the issue of internet safety.

Child labourers rescued from Rajasthan factory

Twenty-seven child labourers, mostly from Bihar, have been rescued from a bread factory in Anantpura here.

Police claimed the children, aged between 14 and 17 years, were made to work for over 12 hours a day in hazardous conditions.

The raid was carried out on Monday by anti-human trafficking unit following a tip-off. Inspector Kaniz Fatema said 25 of the rescued children were from Bihar and two from Uttar Pradesh. They were brought to work here by a private contractor about two months ago.

“The children were found working as bonded labourers in hazardous conditions. They wore old, torn clothes even in the cold conditions. They were being given little food,” the Inspector said.

A case in this connection has been lodged against the owner of the bread factory and the private contractor in Anantpura police station, she said.

The children were later produced before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) that sent them to shelters homes.

The rescued children’s statement would be recorded before the Sub Division Magistrate on Wednesday following which further action as per the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act would be taken, Ms Fatema said. The minors were rescued under Operation Smile campaign launched against child labour from January 1 in Kota.


Human Rights Day 2015

Winnipeg photo studio warns of potential human trafficking scam

Someone pretending to be with a Winnipeg photo business is using it as a front to lure young girls on Facebook.

WINNIPEG—A Winnipeg couple who own a photo studio are warning that someone pretending to be with their business is using it as a front to lure young girls on Facebook.

Rodney and Sonya Braun run Eve Studios, which specializes in beauty and art nude photography.

Rodney says clients contact them requesting to be photographed, but last week strangers in Saskatchewan and Ontario called him to ask about the studio contacting young girls for photo shoots in Winnipeg.

Read more: Winnipeg photo studio warns of potential human trafficking scam


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