On 14 April 2021, the European Commission published its Communication on the EU Strategy against Trafficking in Human Beings, which provides a framework for action against the phenomenon for the period 2021–2025.

The new strategy aims to make the fight against trafficking in human beings more effective, inter alia, by preventing the phenomenon as soon as possible and turning it into a high-risk but low-income activity. Given that trafficking in human beings is an extremely serious crime, the strategy is closely linked to the 2021-2025 EU Strategy to Tackle Organized Crime.

The document is structured along five main lines, according to the following priority areas:

  • Comprehensive response to combatting trafficking in human beings – from prevention through protection of victims to prosecution and conviction of traffickers;
  • Reducing demand that fosters trafficking;
  • Breaking the criminal model to halt victims’ exploitation;
  • Protecting, supporting and empowering the victims, especially women and children;
  • International dimension.

Overall, the strategy states that, despite measures taken over the past decade, the risk of becoming a victim of trafficking remains high, especially among vulnerable groups. The Commission reaffirms its commitment and establishes a strong policy framework to combat trafficking in human beings, adding that women and children are at the heart of this commitment.

In addition to the implementation of the strategy from 2021 to 2025, the Commission is ready to respond immediately to emerging challenges. It is envisaged that the Commission intends to keep the Council and the European Parliament informed of developments in the implementation of the strategy through regular reports.

The full text of the Strategy is available on the Commission's website.