18th Oct: Our role in Europe
Active role in policies that unify the fight against Human trafficking
Our dual mission (direct intervention with women victims and survivors of trafficking and awareness and advocacy in order to ensure the rights that have been recognized for them) cannot ignore that Europe, where we live, is a complex and changing region, place of origin, transit and destination of human trafficking.
Since our creation, we have been aware of the need to monitor and participate in the legislative and normative processes to combat trafficking, which take place in the European Union, the Council of Europe and the OSCE. From them, the responses that are subsequently given at the state level are shaped and guided. Our presence in Europe allows us to influence these processes, learn from other European organizations, build networks and alliances, learn more about the reality of other neighbouring countries and join forces towards a common goal: access to rights for victims. and survivors of trafficking.
Advocacy in Europe
In recent years, we have used different strategies to convey our positions, recommendations and analysis to the European institutions, including advocacy with the European Commission, Spanish MEPs, and speeches in the European Parliament. For example, in the framework of the evaluation of Directive 2011/36 on preventing and combating human trafficking and on the protection of victims and survivors, or the sending of letters on the occasion of the European Day of the Victims of crimes.
Likewise, we have participated together with the Spanish Network against Trafficking in Persons (RECTP) in the preparation of complementary Alternative Reports. We have also played an active role in dialogue with the Group of Experts against Human Trafficking (GRETA), which is in charge of supervising the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Combating Human Trafficking. We consider it to be a fundamental instrument of accountability on the part of the States, which is why we have met with GRETA members on their visits to Spain and have echoed their recommendations and analysis at different times.
In addition, we participate in the Lanzarote Committee that monitors compliance with the Council of Europe Convention for the protection of children against sexual exploitation and abuse.
Training and study visits are another way of influencing, learning about, and expanding our networks in Europe. We would like to highlight the invitations we have received to provide training to the European Police Training Agency (CEPOL), and to events and trainings organized by the OSCE, as well as to carry out study visits to Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands. We have also organized workshops to publicize the European framework for combating human trafficking and existing good practices.
Participation in Forums in Europe
Our European advocacy work is articulated around our presence in key spaces for participation, which provide us with the opportunity to interact with key actors, and presenting our analyzes and positions.
Proyecto Esperanza has participated in the European Civil Society Platform since its creation in 2013. Since 2019, SICAR cat and Proyecto Esperanza have been associate members of the La Strada International network and SICAR cat belong to the EU Network of lawyers and NGOs that provide legal assistance to victims of trafficking (EU Lawyers & NGOs providing legal assistance to victims of trafficking Network).
Finally, we want to stress the importance of the presence of Adoratrices in Europe, particularly in the United Kingdom, France, Portugal and Italy. Our priority in the coming years is to expand and strengthen joint advocacy work in Europe.
Participation in European projects
Both SICAR cat and Proyecto Esperanza are aware of the importance of participating as partners in European projects that allow us to share our experience at the national level in a broader context to, that way, learn from neighboring countries, draw up joint advocacy strategies , and break down good and bad practices that we can replicate, or avoid, in our context. These projects have been articulated based on our advocacy priorities and have allowed us, and allow us, to bring our daily experience of intervention to the work of analysis and advocacy.
We highlight the projects COMP.ACT (European Action for Compensation for trafficked persons – 2012), PHIT (Impact of trafficking for sexual exploitation purposes on the mental health of women victims of this purpose of trafficking- 2018), Justice at Last (on effective compensation for victims of trafficking – 2018), REST (focused on strengthening protection for victims of trafficking through the granting of a residence permit and / or international protection status – 2019-2020 ), and, starting next year, TIATAS (focused on strengthening early identification and safe referral of trafficking victims in the context of asylum procedures).
We also value our participation as partners in different European projects together with Spanish partners who were executing projects on trafficking as very positive.
Advocacy priorities at the European level
Today, 18th October, we also want to focus on those initiatives at the European level that are happening or that are going to take place soon. In the coming months we will be working on them, particularly on:
- The launch of the New Strategy against Human Trafficking 2021-2025 approved in April this year by the European Commission.
- The review process of the Anti-Trafficking Directive 2011/36 / EU based on its evaluation carried out in 2020, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.
- The assessment process of the 2012 Directive / 29 / EU on the rights of crime victims, scheduled for the end of 2021.
- Monitoring of the European Commission’s New European Migration and Asylum Pact
- Participation, within the framework of the Spanish Network Against Trafficking ( RECTP), in the 3rd round of evaluation of the Group of Experts against Human Trafficking in (GRETA) to Spain
- The use of strategic litigation (in this case before the European Court of Human Rights) as an instrument to protect the rights of victims of trafficking.