“We are committed to fight human trafficking”, Minister for Home Affairs and National Security Carmelo Abela said during a meeting held with the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA). This group is currently in Malta to review and discuss Maltese structures and institutions involved in the fight against human trafficking.
Minister Abela highlighted Malta’s efforts as reflected in the National Action Plan 2015-2016 to counter this crime. The strategy includes ways of protecting victims and provision of services needed in this regard. He noted that in the past months training was offered to diplomats and consuls, as well as to other stakeholders, particularly regarding human trafficking for the purposes of labour exploitation.
Moreover, the Maltese authorities took part in a project led by the Netherlands in collaboration with Slovakia and Luxembourg, project named Team Work!, which was aimed at strengthening multi-disciplinary cooperation and the approach that is required to address this type of crime. Maltese participants contributed to the drafting of guidelines intended to facilitate the identification process of victims of such crime.
The Minister pointed out that due attention must be paid to human trafficking issues given the increasing numbers of foreigners working in Malta, some of whom may be vulnerable to exploitation in the form of human trafficking. The Minister also referred to the central role played by the Police Force in relation to the fight against human trafficking. During the meeting reference was also made to the fact that human trafficking is often a hidden crime, as victims are often reluctant to seek help, usually out of fear of their exploiters.
Through the set-up on an interministerial committee, Government will continue sustaining anti-trafficking prevention efforts with the input of NGO’s. Similarly authorities will keep on monitoring and carrying out inspections to businesses susceptible to sex and labour trafficking. Human trafficking entails a violation of fundamental human rights and involves the illegal trade of people for exploitation or commercial gain, most commonly in the form of commercial sexual exploitation or forced labour.
During the forthcoming three days the GRETA delegation will be meeting with various Government entities and agencies which may be involved in adoption and implementing measures to address human trafficking.