The Status Quo of Implementing the Anti-Trafficking Directive in the EU
The trafficking of human beings (THB) remains to be a large problem in the European Union, threatening people’s fundamental rights and their dignities. Over the course of the last decades, the European Union has introduced a comprehensive legal and policy framework including the Directive 2011/36/EU (Anti-Trafficking Protocol) in order to address this large humanitarian issue.
In order to gather a comprehensive overview of the current status of implementation as well as the functioning of the Anti-Trafficking Protocol, the European Parliament has commissioned Ecorys to identify the progress and achievements, as well as the possible weaknesses and challenges from an implementation perspective.
Based on extensive desk-research analysis as well as semi-structured stakeholder interviews in all EU-27 Member States, the research team assessed the accomplishments, developments and the shortcomings of five dimension of the Directive: in regard to the general situation of THB in the European Union, as well as the level of prevention of trafficking provided by the current legal framework. Additionally, the efficiency of the criminal systems in which the Directive is embedded, the protection granted to victims through the Anti-Trafficking Protocol, and the established cooperation between the Member States and EU support in the matter of trafficking were appraised.
The team concluded that progress had been made through the Directive in all evaluated areas, rendering the Anti-Trafficking Protocol a valuable instrument in the upholding and defense of human rights and the fight against criminal networks. Additionally, enhanced cooperation between actors was attributed to the measures and mechanisms put in place by the Directive. However, shortcomings in the implementation of the directive across different nations were still widely recognized, threatening the full achievement of the goal of the Directive.