Detecting and protecting victims of trafficking in hotspots

Ex-post evaluation


Date of publication:  19 Jul 2019 Author:  Amandine Scherrer Publisher:  European Parliamentary Research Service Publication type:  Report / Study / Data

This study was requested by the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM ) in November 2018 and is a follow -up to a European implementation assessment carried out by EPRS in 2016 on the Human Trafficking Directive (2011/36/EU). It goes into greater detail than an EPRS briefing on the topic published in February 2019.

The study focuses on the issue of trafficking in human beings in the specific context of hotspots, i.e. first reception facilities for migrants and/or refugees in Greece and Italy. During the course of the eighth parliamentary term , the European Parliament stressed the need to improve early identification of victims of trafficking at EU borders and to adopt more gender- sensitive policies in this context. This study presents the state of play relating to these challenges.

From the Executive Summary:

Situation in Greece:

The hotspots in Greece are in Chios,  Kos,  Leros,  Lesvos  and  Samos.  In  March  2016 Greece concluded an agreement with Turkey, according to which all new irregular migrants and asylum-seekers  arriving from Turkey and whose applications for asylum have been declared inadmissible should be returned to Turkey. This means that asylum-seekers are stranded on the islands, in the hotspots for longer periods of time, and living conditions have worsened, with overcrowding. The situaiton makes children and women especially vulnerable. There is an expedited procedure for nationals of countries prejudged to be producing 'economic migrants', which also means that screening for vulnerability remains limited. " Overall, in spite of recent efforts to detect victims of trafficking in hotspots (including the adoption of dedicated procedures and of a functioning system of guardianship for unaccompanied children), in Greece there is a high probability that many victims remain undetected."

Situation in Italy:

The hotspots in Italy are: Lampedusa, Mess Pozzallo and Taranto. In February 2017 Italy concluded a Memorandum of Understanding with Lybia in order to stem the influx of refugees. This  led  to  a  significant  decrease  in  arrivals and the hotspots are empty, except for Messina that hosts 23 people.  Also, Italian hotspots only serve registration, security screening  and  immediate  assistance  purposes so people only stay a few days here. On the other hand, the risk of trafficking and exploitation shifted with the agreement to Lybia, of which repeated reports have been published citing slavery, gang rape, arbitrary detention and trafficking. The EU and Italy have both been called upon to provide adequate support to Lybian authorities so they ensure the respect of human rights of all migrants and asylum seekers.

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