Members' Research Service By / June 15, 2023

Preventing and combating trafficking in human beings [EU Legislation in Progress]

Despite progress achieved in the EU over the years, trafficking in human beings remains a persistent, and high-profit crime.

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Written by Martina Prpic (1st edition).

On 19 December 2022, the European Commission put forward a proposal for the targeted revision of Directive 2011/36/EU, which is the main EU instrument to combat trafficking in human beings and protect its victims. Despite progress achieved in fighting this crime, the Commission reports that, on average, 7 000 people per year are victims of human trafficking in the EU and that this figure is most likely only the tip of the iceberg. Moreover, forms of exploitation have evolved over time and have adapted to the new environment. For instance, criminal networks are now taking advantage of the possibilities offered by new technologies to recruit victims. Most recently, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has generated a massive displacement of women and children and created new opportunities for criminal organisations. While a large majority of victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation are women and girls, men are more victims of trafficking for labour exploitation, the share of which is increasing, or are forced to commit criminal activities. Against this background, the Commission is proposing a set of amendments to strengthen the current rules, further harmonise provisions across Member States in order to reduce demand, and collect robust data and statistics.


Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2011/36/EU on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims.
Committees responsible:Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM)COM(2022) 732
Rapporteurs:Malin Björk (The Left, Sweden)
Eugenia Rodríguez Palop (The Left, Spain)
Shadow rapporteurs:Lena Düpont (EPP, Germany)
Maria Walsh (EPP, Ireland)
Maria-Manuel Leitão-Marques (S&D, Portugal)
Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, Spain)
Abir Al-Sahlani (Renew, Sweden)
Yana Toom (Renew, Estonia)
Alice Kuhnke (Greens/EFA, Sweden)
Vincenzo Sofo (ECR, Italy)
Christine Anderson (ID, Germany)
Patricia Chagnon (ID, France)
Ordinary legislative procedure
(COD) (Parliament and Council
on equal footing – formerly ‘co-decision’)
Appointment of rapporteur

Next steps expected: Committee vote on draft report
EU Legislation in progress timeline

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