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Council of Europe: “human trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation is on the rise”. The pandemic and the war have made the situation worse

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“Human trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation has been on the rise across Council of Europe member states, affecting an increasing number of men, women and children. It occurs in all economic sectors, including domestic work, unregulated sectors and the informal economy”. This has been reported by Helga Gayer, president of the Council of Europe group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (Greta), in the run-up to European Anti-Trafficking Day (October 18th). Greta’s reports show that “trafficking for labour exploitation has become the main form of human trafficking in a growing number of European states, accounting for over 50% of identified victims in countries including Belgium, Latvia, Malta, the Republic of Moldova, Portugal and the United Kingdom”. The Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s aggression on Ukraine have increased human trafficking. More and more victims are recruited via social media, and the use of information and communication technology poses additional challenges to the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking cases. “The Council of Europe has put in place comprehensive standards to help states tackle human trafficking, and these have recently been further strengthened through the adoption of a new Committee of Ministers recommendation with a specific focus on trafficking for labour exploitation”, Gayer added. The report includes a full set of measures that concern regulations and inspections for the labour market, the identification of victims, access to effective procedures and punishments for people who commit human trafficking crimes. Special attention has been paid to the role of the companies, which must ensure that their operations and supply chains are not engaged in any form of exploitation, including human trafficking.

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