Select Page

GRETA — EVALUATION REPORT BELGIUM — Access to justice and effective remedies for victims of trafficking in human beings

GRETA — EVALUATION REPORT BELGIUM — Access to justice and effective remedies for victims of trafficking in human beings
Advertisement
Exec­u­tive Summary
Since the sec­ond eval­u­a­tion round of the imple­men­ta­tion of the Coun­cil of Europe Con­ven­tion on Action against Traf­fick­ing in Human Beings, Bel­gium has con­tin­ued to devel­op the leg­isla­tive and pol­i­cy frame­work rel­e­vant to action against traf­fick­ing in human beings. The fourth Nation­al Action Plan for pre­vent­ing and com­bat­ing Traf­fick­ing in human beings, cov­er­ing the peri­od 2021–2025, was adopt­ed in June 2021. The Fed­er­al Migra­tion Cen­tre (MYRIA) con­tin­ues to act as an inde­pen­dent nation­al rap­por­teur. GRETA wel­comes MYR­I­A’s detailed and com­pre­hen­sive reports as an impor­tant instru­ment for research and action in the field of traf­fick­ing in human beings.
Bel­gium remains pri­mar­i­ly a coun­try of des­ti­na­tion for vic­tims of human traf­fick­ing, but it is also a coun­try of ori­gin and tran­sit. Accord­ing to data pro­vid­ed by MYRIA, the num­ber of vic­tims of traf­fick­ing receiv­ing sup­port from spe­cialised recep­tion cen­tres was 120 in 2017, 122 in 2018, 145 in 2019 and 88 in 2020. The major­i­ty of vic­tims were men traf­ficked for the pur­pose of eco­nom­ic exploita­tion. The sec­ond most com­mon type of exploita­tion was sex­u­al exploita­tion, which main­ly affects women.
The focus of the third eval­u­a­tion round of the Con­ven­tion being on traf­fick­ing vic­tims’ access to jus­tice and effec­tive reme­dies, the report analy­ses in detail the imple­men­ta­tion of pro­vi­sions of the Con­ven­tion estab­lish­ing sub­stan­tive and pro­ce­dur­al oblig­a­tions rel­e­vant to this topic.
In Bel­gium, pre­sumed vic­tims of traf­fick­ing are informed about their rights through a leaflet, which is avail­able in 28 lan­guages and writ­ten in an acces­si­ble lan­guage, but which does not men­tion all the rights of the vic­tims. GRETA con­sid­ers that the Bel­gian author­i­ties should strength­en the pro­vi­sion of infor­ma­tion to pre­sumed vic­tims of traf­fick­ing con­cern­ing their rights as soon as they are detect­ed and regard­less of whether they decide to approach a spe­cialised recep­tion centre.
Access to legal aid for vic­tims of traf­fick­ing is sub­ject to very restric­tive eli­gi­bil­i­ty cri­te­ria. One of the cri­te­ria is the lack of finan­cial resources, which should be main­tained through­out the pro­ceed­ings. The thresh­old for obtain­ing legal aid is low­er than the min­i­mum wage and excludes, in prac­tice, all vic­tims who work or find a job dur­ing the pro­ceed­ings. GRETA urges the Bel­gian author­i­ties to take fur­ther mea­sures to ensure access to jus­tice for vic­tims of traf­fick­ing and, in par­tic­u­lar, to revise and sim­pli­fy the eli­gi­bil­i­ty cri­te­ria for access to legal aid.
While wel­com­ing the avail­abil­i­ty of legal reme­dies to claim com­pen­sa­tion, GRETA is con­cerned about the lim­it­ed num­ber of vic­tims who have obtained com­pen­sa­tion. GRETA urges the Bel­gian author­i­ties to take addi­tion­al mea­sures to guar­an­tee effec­tive access to com­pen­sa­tion for vic­tims of traf­fick­ing, and in par­tic­u­lar to facil­i­tate access to legal aid and to review the cri­te­ria for access to the Finan­cial Aid Fund for Vic­tims of Inten­tion­al acts of Violence.
The num­ber of inves­ti­ga­tions and pros­e­cu­tions in human traf­fick­ing cas­es has increased since 2017. The Finan­cial Intel­li­gence Pro­cess­ing Unit (CTIF) has referred to the judi­cial author­i­ties sev­er­al cas­es relat­ed to human traf­fick­ing, demon­strat­ing a key role in con­duct­ing effec­tive finan­cial inves­ti­ga­tions. How­ev­er, law enforce­ment offi­cials met by GRETA dur­ing the vis­it expressed great frus­tra­tion over the lack of staff and the impact on the pos­si­bil­i­ty to car­ry out proac­tive and effec­tive inves­ti­ga­tions. GRETA urges the Bel­gian author­i­ties to allo­cate suf­fi­cient human and bud­getary resources to the police forces.
GRETA wel­comes the adop­tion of the law of 22 May 2019, which recog­nised in the Bel­gian Crim­i­nal Code the prin­ci­ple of non-pun­ish­ment of vic­tims of traf­fick­ing for their involve­ment in unlaw­ful activ­i­ties, to the extent that they were com­pelled to do so. How­ev­er, GRETA con­sid­ers that the author­i­ties should take fur­ther steps to ensure the prac­ti­cal imple­men­ta­tion of the non-pun­ish­ment pro­vi­sion, in par­tic­u­lar with regard to minor vic­tims of traf­fick­ing for the offences they were forced to commit.

Fur­ther­more, GRETA con­sid­ers that the Bel­gian author­i­ties should ensure that the avail­able pro­tec­tive mea­sures are effec­tive­ly applied to vic­tims of traf­fick­ing and wit­ness­es in order to pro­tect them, includ­ing by avoid­ing the con­fronta­tion of vic­tims of traf­fick­ing in the phys­i­cal pres­ence of the accused and by ensur­ing the use of video­taped hear­ings of vic­tims of all types of human trafficking.

The report also exam­ines progress made on the imple­men­ta­tion of pre­vi­ous GRETA rec­om­men­da­tions on select­ed top­ics. While wel­com­ing the efforts to pre­vent and com­bat human traf­fick­ing for the pur­pose pf labour exploita­tion, GRETA urges the Bel­gian author­i­ties to allo­cate suf­fi­cient human and finan­cial resources to labour inspec­tors in order to allow them to per­form their role effec­tive­ly and proac­tive­ly through­out the coun­try. GRETA also con­sid­ers that the train­ing and spe­cial­i­sa­tion of labour audi­tors should be improved, includ­ing on the speci­fici­ties of the traf­fick­ing offence and the dif­fer­ences between it and oth­er offences under labour crim­i­nal law.

The iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of vic­tims in Bel­gium is, in prac­tice, close­ly linked to their coop­er­a­tion with the jus­tice sys­tem and to the fact that they are accom­mo­dat­ed in spe­cialised cen­tres. GRETA con­sid­ers that the Bel­gian author­i­ties should ensure that the for­mal iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of vic­tims of traf­fick­ing is not depen­dent, in prac­tice, on their coop­er­a­tionGRE with the jus­tice sys­tem or on the out­come of crim­i­nal proceedings.

While wel­com­ing the increase in pub­lic fund­ing for spe­cialised recep­tion cen­tres, GRETA urges the Bel­gian author­i­ties to ensure that assis­tance mea­sures are not con­di­tion­al on the vic­tim’s agree­ment to coop­er­ate with crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tions and proceedings.

Con­cerned by the low num­ber of chil­dren iden­ti­fied as vic­tims of traf­fick­ing, GRETA con­sid­ers that the Bel­gian author­i­ties should strength­en the train­ing pro­vid­ed to front-line pro­fes­sion­als and improve the assis­tance to unac­com­pa­nied minors.

Final­ly, GRETA con­sid­ers that the Bel­gian author­i­ties should take fur­ther steps to ensure that vic­tims of traf­fick­ing can ful­ly ben­e­fit from the right to obtain a res­i­dence per­mit, includ­ing on the basis of their per­son­al situation.

ADLAUDATOSI INTEGRAL ECOLOGY FORUM WEBINARS

OUR MISSION:

THE PURPOSE IS TO SHARE BEST PRACTICES AND PROMOTE ACTIONS AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING.

WE MAKE AVAILABLE TO YOU GUIDES AND RESEARCH ON TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN BEINGS FROM THE MOST RECOGNISED LEGAL AND OPERATIONAL ACTORS.

AN EXAMPLE FOR CATHOLIC ENTITIES TO FOLLOW: ERADICATE MODERN SLAVERY IN ALL ITS FORMS FROM THE OPERATIONS AND SUPPLY CHAINS OF CATHOLIC ENTITIES IN AUSTRALIA — PROPOSAL OF ACTION PLAN – MODERN SLAVERY RISK MANAGEMENT PROGRAM FROM 2021 TO 30 JUNE 2023

HELP OUR ORGANIZATION BY MAKING A DONATION TODAY!

Adlaudatosi Webinars Videos VIMEO

Videos of the speakers’ interventions adlaudatosi VIMEO

Adlaudatosi Webinars Videos YOUTUBE

Religious Helping Trafficking Victims along the Road of Recovery (ON-DEMAND VIDEO WEBINAR)

Religious Working In International Advocacy Against Human Trafficking (ON-DEMAND VIDEO WEBINAR)

Impact Of Human Trafficking On Health: Trauma (ON-DEMAND VIDEO WEBINAR)

Impact Of Human Trafficking On Health: Healing (ON-DEMAND VIDEO WEBINAR)

International Prosecution Of Human Trafficking — Where Are We Now? (ON-DEMAND VIDEO WEBINAR)

International Prosecution Of Human Trafficking — What can be done? (ON-DEMAND VIDEO WEBINAR)

International Prosecution Of Human Trafficking — Best Practices (ON-DEMAND VIDEO WEBINAR)

Demand As Root Cause For Human Trafficking – Sex Trafficking & Prostitution

Human Trafficking — Interview with Prof. Michel Veuthey, Order of Malta — 44th UN Human Right Council 2020

POPE’S PAYER INTENTION FOR FEBRUARY 2020: Hear the cries of migrants victims of human trafficking

FRANCE — BLOG DU COLLECTIF “CONTRE LA TRAITE DES ÊTRES HUMAINS”

Church on the frontlines in fight against human trafficking

Holy See — PUBLICATION OF PASTORAL ORIENTATIONS ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING 2019

RIGHT TO LIFE AND HUMAN DIGNITY GUIDEBOOK

Catholic social teaching

Doctrine sociale de l’Église catholique

Register to our series of webinars adlaudatosi on Human Trafficking

 
 

You have successfully registered !