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Council of Europe: Mijatović, “deliver on commitments to protect people from human trafficking”

(Strasbourg) “Now is the time to ensure” that the “often-pronounced commitments” to fighting human trafficking and to eradicating “modern slavery” are delivered, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, said, referring in particular to “people on the move”: refugees, asylum seekers and economic migrants like, for example, seasonal or domestic workers and irregular migrants. “I have repeatedly noted the impact of the bigger picture of European migration policy on the fight against all forms of exploitation. This, in my view, is currently one of the biggest challenges in ensuring that the protection of victims of exploitation and human trafficking is fully realised”, the Commissioner wrote, listing a number of deficiencies such as “delays in asylum procedures”; “inadequate” reception conditions; or, as happened in Italy, the exclusion of “asylum seekers from access to reception centres”. Even return policies, “while legitimate in themselves, may risk losing sight of the most vulnerable”. Whilst the protection of the EU’s external borders is a legitimate goal, “the protection of those on the move is too often neglected”. Finally, it is regrettable that “the increasing closing of safe and legal routes to Europe, including refugee resettlement and family reunification, is itself providing the ground on which this abhorrent practice can flourish”.

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