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Refugees must be protected from trafficking gangs

2 October 2015

European frontline agencies highlight need for legal supports for those fleeing violence



Joint call by participants of Early Legal Intervention Conference in Sofia  

Frontline agencies and law centres from Bulgaria, Croatia, Ireland, the UK and Lithuania meeting in Sofia (Thurs 1 Oct 2015) are warning that legal protections and supports must be put in place to prevent refugees being targeted by human traffickers.

Partners of the European Commission funded Early Legal Intervention (ELI) project have highlighted men, women and children fleeing terror, conflict and war are vulnerable to trafficking for sexual and labour exploitation and are calling for procedures to be put in place at both a National and European level.

The Immigrant Council of Ireland (Lead Partner), Legal Services Agency Glasgow, The AIRE Centre London, BGRF Bulgaria, KSPSC Lithuania, Centre for Women War Victims Croatia say vulnerable people targeted by traffickers, pimps and thugs must have their international rights recognised and respected.

The partners of the ELI project are working to establish best practice in securing the protection of victims of trafficking by ensuring early access to legal representation.

The project is identifying and analysing current procedures across the EU with the aim of enhancing protections, including the provision of confidential advocacy at the first encounter between victims and authorities, risk assessment of immediate needs, ensuring adequate time for recovery and reflection as well as procedures to ensure victims are not treated as criminals.

The findings of the project will be released at conferences in Dublin and Brussels in January.


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