EU Agencies present first full overview of actions to detect and protect victims of human trafficking

The European Union agencies active in the field of justice and home affairs have presented the first full overview of actions to help victims of trafficking in human beings. The main operational activities are listed in a joint report of the Justice and Home Affairs Agencies Network (JHAAN) published today at the occasion of EU Anti-Trafficking Day under the leadership of Eurojust. The report is a key building block of the EU Strategy on combatting Trafficking in Human Beings and serves as a key reference document for national authorities engaged in tackling human trafficking.

"Human trafficking is a concept that should not exist in the 21st century. Our common response for such appalling crimes must always be zero tolerance. I am confident that, together, the nine JHA Agencies can redouble their efforts in supporting Member States in identifying and, most importantly, protecting victims and potential victims of trafficking", said Krum Garkov, Executive Director of eu-LISA.

During the Eurojust Presidency of the JHAAN, for the first time, a compendium was made of all different actions taken by CEPOL, EASO, EIGE, eu-LISA, Eurojust, Europol, FRA and Frontex, to reach out to victims of human trafficking at all stages of prevention, investigations, operations and legal proceedings. The initiative is a concrete result following the Joint Statement of commitment to work together against trafficking in human beings, signed in 2018.

The JHAAN report of today aims to make Member States more aware of the Agencies' potential in helping the early identification and protection of victims. Furthermore, it encourages them to cooperate closely with the Agencies involved in this area and to build on their expertise. The report responds to one of the key actions of the EU Strategy on Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings 2021-2025.

The report is the result of a questionnaire sent to all agencies and the outcome of a meeting of JHAAN experts, hosted by Eurojust in June this year. It builds on two important strands in the process of investigating criminal networks involved in human trafficking, namely the early identification of victims and measures and actions for their protection.

To do its part in identifying and protecting victims of human trafficking, eu-LISA has continued its work on the design and development of existing, but also new existing large-scale IT systems, such as the Entry/Exit System (EES), the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), and the European Criminal Records System - Third Country Nationals (ECRIS-TCN), as well as the interoperability architecture, to ensure that national authorities responsible for border management and security and concerned EU Agencies will have access to the necessary information when and where needed. New functionalities brought by the SIS II Recast will be paramount in the fast, cross-border identification of children and vulnerable people who need to be prevented from travelling, if that travel would put them at risk of becoming victims of trafficking.

As part of its expanding role in the area of justice, eu-LISA also contributes to the Digital criminal justice initiative, aiming to enhance the necessary technical platforms to improve the exchange of information, and victims' access to justice.

Established in 2010, the Justice and Home Affairs agencies' Network comprises of nine institutions: CEPOL, EASO, EIGE, EMCDDA, eu-LISA, Eurojust, Europol, FRA and Frontex. Together, they contribute to the implementation of EU's objectives in the fields of migration, asylum and external border management, the fight against serious organised crime, drug trafficking and terrorism, gender equality and respect for fundamental rights.


Further Reading

  • Joint report of the JHA agencies' network on the identification and protection of victims of human trafficking

European Institutions; JHAA