Anti-trafficking directive

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Practical information



The directive adopted in 2011, is the fundamental EU legislative act addressing trafficking in human beings. It establishes minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offences and sanctions; common provisions to strengthen victim's protection, assistance and support, as well as prevention; key actors to fight against the crime.

The Directive provides for prevention measures to discourage demand and invites Member States to consider criminalising the knowing use of services exploited from trafficked persons. However, the final decision is left to Member States. This has led to a diverse legal landscape across the EU where employers and users face different consequences when they employ or use the bodies, labour and services of trafficked people, which may hamper efforts to reduce demand effectively and across borders. Further, the impunity of perpetrators in the EU persists, and the numbers of prosecutions and convictions of traffickers as well as criminal proceeds confiscated remain low.