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New agreement paves the way for stronger EU rules against trafficking in human beings

On 23 January, the European Parliament and the Council reached a political agreement on new rules to reinforce the fight against trafficking in human beings. The agreed rules provide stronger tools for law enforcement and judicial authorities to investigate and prosecute new forms of exploitation, including those that take place online.

The agreement includes the following measures:

  • EU countries will be required to include the exploitation of surrogacy, of forced marriage, and of illegal adoption as forms of exploitation explicitly covered by the definition of trafficking in human beings in their national law;
  • Trafficking committed through the use of information and communication technologies will be considered as an aggravating circumstance when it relates to sexual exploitation, which means that it can lead to higher penalties;
  • EU countries will be required to establish Formal Referral Mechanisms, enhancing early identification and assistance of victims, as well as single national focal points, which will form the basis of a European Referral Mechanism;
  • The knowing use of services provided by trafficking victims will become a criminal offence, with the aim of reducing the demand that fosters trafficking;
  • National Anti-Trafficking Coordinators will be established, and Member States will also have the possibility to designate independent bodies. The adoption and regular updates of National Action Plans will also become mandatory;
  • EU-wide data collection on trafficking in human beings based on specific indicators will become mandatory and will be published annually by Eurostat.

This agreement follows the proposal presented by the Commission in December 2022 for the revision of the current Anti-Trafficking Directive. The new Directive now needs to be formally adopted by the European Parliament and the Council.

More Information

Press Release

Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims

Report on the progress made in the fight against trafficking in human beings


Trafficking in Human Beings

End human trafficking. Break the invisible chain

Link:, dated January 25, 2024 10:25 am

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