Enhancing the Safety and Sustainability of the Return and Reintegration of Victims of Trafficking
This report follows on from the implementation of two distinct but complementary projects implemented by IOM: Coordinated Approach for the REintegration of victims of trafficking returning voluntarily to any third country (CARE project) and Transnational ACtion – Safe and sustainable return and reintegration for victims of Trafficking returning voluntarily to priority countries: Albania, Morocco and Ukraine (TACT project).
The two projects involved a total of nine European Union Member States (EU MS) – Austria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom – committed to improving the return and reintegration programmes available for Victims of Trafficking (VoTs), in order to make the process safer and more sustainable, and to reduce the risks of re-trafficking.
Bearing this objective in mind, IOM endeavored through the implementation of both projects to develop, implement, and fine-tune Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the Return and Reintegration of Victims of Trafficking, ensuring a continuum of care.
This joint report aims to gather and share the lessons learnt through the implementation of both projects, suggesting a way forward for the establishment of transnational referral mechanisms between EU MS and third countries. The issue of transnational referral mechanisms is a key priority in the current EU anti-trafficking efforts, as mentioned in the EU Anti-trafficking Strategy for the period 2012–2016.
As part of the introduction, this report will start with an overview of the key concepts and legal framework relating to trafficking and voluntary return, analyzing their linkage, and a brief explanation of the content of the EU Anti-trafficking Strategy, in the framework of which both the CARE and TACT projects are implemented. The first section will present in detail the CARE and TACT projects objectives and activities. The second section will go through the lessons drawn from the implementation of the CARE project and propose recommendations to enhance the assistance and protection provided to returning VoTs. The third and final section will go a step further, presenting some reflections in turn on the concept of the Transnational Referral Mechanism (TRM) and its possible concrete implementation throughout the EU and third countries.
The international legislative framework on human trafficking is governed by the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its two Additional Protocols. The Convention, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly through resolution 55/252 on 15 November 2000, entered into force on 29 September 2003. It is complemented by the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children,3 also known as the Palermo Protocol (entered into force on 25 December 2003) and the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air,4 which entered into force on 28 January 2004.
According to Article 3(a) of the Palermo Protocol, “Human trafficking” can be described as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs”.
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