Which actions have to be taken to protect and support the victims of human trafficking for labour exploitation? Which policy framework do we need for the creation of effective anti-trafficking structures? These were questions discussed at a conference hosted jointly by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Friedrich-Ebert foundation in Berlin on 10 October 2016. The conference was attended by members of the Federal Government/ Länder working group on countering trafficking for labour exploitation, which was established by our Ministry, and by stakeholders from civil society, welfare associations and public authorities.
State Secretary Fahimi emphasised that the fight against human trafficking for labour exploitation was a major national and international challenge. While it was true that Germany had already made some headway, a lot still remained to be done. Ms Fahimi also stresesed that it was necessary to raise more public awareness for these issues and to scale-up the counselling and support services working with the victims. She added that public authorities and specialised counselling centres which come into contact with victims of trafficking for labour exploitation must receive information and training on these issues. In addition, it was important for them to partner with each other. Against this backdrop, Ms Fahimi announced plans to establish a national service point:
With the new national service point against human trafficking we want to establish stronger networks between the players in this field, and we also want to genuinely and sustainably strengthen capacities on an issue which has many dimensions. Another goal for the service point is the pooling of expertise and the provision of services for regional actors and anti-trafficking networks. Examples of such services include briefings on basic legal questions or training packages to help with the identification of victims. We can only effectively assist the victims, if all actors at the federal, Länder and municipal levels exchange experiences.
Furthermore, the panel also discussed the possibility of setting up an independent national anti-trafficking rapporteur’s office in Germany. European legislation calls for such an office. The Netherlands already have such an institution. Corinne Dettmeijer-Vermeulen, the Dutch national anti-trafficking rapporteur, talked about her work and some Dutch success stories in the fight against trafficking.