European Anti-Trafficking Day intended to raise awareness about the people fleeing the war in Ukraine
Since the outbreak of the crisis, the countries which are most burdened by the influx of people fleeing the war have been making significant efforts to respond accordingly and receive these people, while international organisations are warning against the exposure of this vulnerable group to exploitation and human trafficking. To this end, the Common Anti-Trafficking Plan was adopted in May 2022 to manage the risks of human trafficking and support potential victims among the people fleeing the war in Ukraine.
Among other things, the Plan anticipates the reinforcement of preventive activities in Member States with regard to raising awareness about the risks of human trafficking and measures for a timely identification of potential victims and their support and protection. The decisive response of the entire international community and its effective preventive action are the likely reasons that the number of cases of trafficking in human beings among those fleeing the war in Ukraine is low.
Slovenian police found no victims of human trafficking
This year, the Slovenian police dealt with six criminal offences of trafficking in human beings. It determined six victims (all women) and 24 perpetrators of this criminal offence. In connection with Ukrainian citizens, the Slovenian police dealt with several cases this year in which the circumstances indicated trafficking in human beings but, based on the information and evidence collected, the police found no victims of trafficking in human beings.
Among the forms of human trafficking, exploitation for prostitution and sexual abuse prevail in Slovenia, while other forms of this criminal offence are rare. In general, Slovenia is considered a target country of exploitation of victims of trafficking in human beings and a transit country for persons from South-Eastern Europe who continue their journey to other EU Member States through Slovenia.
National Working Group on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings
The National Working Group on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings oversees the consistent implementation of measures from the plan for prevention, detection and investigation of such criminal offences in Slovenia. On the occasion of European Anti-Trafficking Day, the Working Group, in cooperation with the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and the Network of National Anti-trafficking Coordinators from South-Eastern Europe (NATC SEE), will carry out an online campaign between 18 and 21 October 2022 which will focus on vulnerable groups as well as the general and expert public.
The NATC SEE representatives have adopted a joint statement on European Anti-Trafficking Day which highlights the key recommendations for the prevention of trafficking in human beings involving people fleeing from the war in Ukraine. Crucial recommended measures include:
- providing access to information regarding registration, helplines and support services available to refugees, and
- informing all stakeholders who are in contact with the vulnerable group about possible security risks, exploitation and trafficking in human beings.
The competent authorities must further strive for active identification of violations of workers’ rights and organise regular training of law enforcement authorities and labour inspectors on human trafficking for the purpose of identifying forced labour and labour exploitation. Furthermore, state authorities must support civil society organisations, which give help to possible human trafficking victims and refugees in obtaining access to the labour market, and language and vocational courses. The network members also call on mandatory registration of unaccompanied minors, who must be assured suitable protection and support adjusted to their age, including access to regular education.
NATC SEE was established in October 2010 at the initiative of the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Slovenia and consists of eleven countries in the region. Within the Network, the National Anti-Trafficking Coordinators discuss current trends and challenges with regard to trafficking in human beings and harmonise policies in this field. With the ICMPD’s support, which provides expert and administrative assistance, the Network has become one of the most important forums for cooperation in the combat against trafficking in human beings in the region.