CoE calls for tougher action by Malta against human trafficking
A Council of Europe expert group on human trafficking has expressed concern at reports that victims of human trafficking in Malta have been punished by the authorities for acts committed when they were under te control of their traffickers and/or deported withot being identified as victims of trafficking.
In a report published today, the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) stresses that the absence of identification of victims of trafficking increases the risk for victims of trafficking to be punished for their irregular migration status or other unlawful acts that they were compelled to commit.
The report also expresses concern that only 25 persons in Malta were identified as victims of human trafficking between 2003 and 2011.
Twenty-four of the victims were women, primarily from Russia, Ukraine and Romania. All 25 were trafficked for sexual exploitation.
“GRETA believes that these figures may not reflect the true situation, given the lack of a formal procedure for identifying victims.”
The report urges the authorities to focus more on detecting trafficking for labour exploitation, such as women brought over from the Philippines.
The experts point out that most of the criminal cases which have been launched since 2006 are still pending. They said the Maltese authorities need to ensure quicker and more effective investigations and trials, leading to “proportionate and dissuasive” sanctions.
Furthermore, GRETA is calling on the authorities to adopt a clear framework for the repatriation and return of trafficking victims, and to ensure that all victims are fully able to access the compensation and support which they are entitled to.
See full report on pdf below