The EU Civil Society Platform against Trafficking in Human Beings met for two working days in Brussels, on 28-29 May 2018. Approximately one hundred organisations attended, of which three were newly welcomed in the absence of equivalent number. The newcomers originate from Denmark, Estonia and Malta.
Prior to the meeting all participants received a list of selected documents/statements/outcomes, which directly relate to trafficking in human beings across fields in the internal and external dimension of diverse EU policies.
Ms Myria Vassiliadou, EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, welcomed the participants, gave an overview of the meeting and acknowledged the important guest speakers related to the workshops planned for the second day. Ms. Vassiliadou reminded us that we were there to discuss with participants of the Platform, rather than representatives of the organisations. The same person coming to the meeting helps to build up knowledge, memory, etc.
A further update by the European Commission followed.
Ms. Valeria Galanti, Policy Officer, presented an update on the legal framework and implementation of EU Policy towards building coordination and coherence with EU Agencies. The EU Platform Website and its Member Only Section, continue to be the best sources of documents shared by the Commission as well as Platform’ Participants.
Ms. Vassiliadou read the address of the EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos.
The Special Adviser to the President of the European Commission, Joëlle Milquet joined us for the afternoon sessions and explored with us the topic of compensation for victims of crime.
Ambassador Mara Marinaki, Principal Adviser on Gender and on the Implementation of UNSCR 1325/WPS, European External Action Services and Fabienne van den Eede, Deputy Head of Unit DG DEVCO also joined us for the afternoon sessions and shared their expertise.
Ambassador Marinaki spoke about the Istanbul convention, the first instrument of a wide scale which addresses the whole „family” of European laws and requires political commitment. She underlined the importance of investment in education and its transformative power.
Ms. van den Eede presented the EU-UN Gender Spotlight Initiative which was launched on 20 September 2017. The Initiative is so named as it focuses attention on this issue, moving it into the spotlight and placing it at the centre of efforts to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It foresees data collection on regional thematic areas such as : femicide in Latin America; human trafficking in Asia; SGBV, harmful practices – SRHR in Africa, domestic violence in the Pacific and family violence in the Caribbean.
Participants of the Platform were invited to give their counsel on the collection of data and any contribution they could make towards success of this Initiative, to eliminate violence against women and girls.
The second day of the meeting began with a plenary session which was an introduction to the three parallel workshops, concentrating on the priorities and and key actions to step up the EU action (linked to the EU priorities and actions). All participants were given a choice of workshops by registering in advance of the meeting.
Further work on day two followed in groups. The results of the working groups were presented at the final plenary session.
WORKSHOP 1, Priority A: Stepping up the fight against organised criminal networks by whatever means including disrupting the business model and untangling the trafficking chain.
Conceptualising the EU-wide awareness-raising campaign on trafficking in human beings, targeting users, consumers, and vulnerable groups and high-risk sectors.
WORKSHOP 2, Priority B: Provide better access to and realise the rights for victims of trafficking.
Focus on access to compensation and referral mechanisms at national and transnational level to realize the rights of victims.
WORKSHOP 3, Priority C: Intensify a coordinated and consolidated response, both within and outside the EU.
Focus on enhanced joint efforts to address the root causes of vulnerabilities and the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative – eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls.
This EU Civil Society Platform meeting was a good opportunity to learn, share and network with others. There were five RENATE members present, participating on behalf of their home country organisations from Poland, Slovakia, Malta, Albania and Lithuania (photo: from left to right).
Text and photos: Aneta Grabowska.