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New EU directive aims at fighting human trafficking more effectively


The European Union has just taken a major step forward to combat trafficking in human beings. A new directive containing a common definition of the crime and the levels of sanctions in the area of human trafficking has been adopted.



Highlights of the directive:


1. A broad concept of what should be considered trafficking in human beings.


2. Penalties for traffickers have been extended from 8 to 10 years within the EU.


3. EU Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that  victims of human trafficking are not punished for their compelled involvement in criminal activities.


4. Each Member State will have to investigate and prosecute offences committed in whole or in part within its territory or committed by one of its nationals, even outside of its territory.


5. Member States should provide free legal assistance for victims of human trafficking, in case the victim does not have sufficient financial resources, and special protective measures are envisaged for child victims.


Several prevention measures, such as regular training for officials, awareness raising campaigns and measures discouraging the demand, complete the purpose of this new set of rules. The directive is the first agreement between the Council and the European Parliament in the area of substantive criminal law after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. Participating Member States must implement the new rules into national legislation within the next two years.


For more information visit the website of the Commission of the European Union.