The Regional Simulation on Referral of Victims of Human Trafficking in the Southern Mediterranean entitled “Human Trafficking on Migration Routes” took place in Valletta, Malta.
It was a first regional simulation exercise of this scope organised by the Council of Europe in the framework of its joint programmes with the European Union and in partnership with the Government of Malta.
During this simulation-based training more than 100 participants, including representatives of governments, judges and prosecutors, law enforcement, social and health services, labour inspections, civil society and the media from Algeria, Belgium, Egypt, France, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Morocco, Palestine*, Portugal, Switzerland, Tunisia and the UK had enhanced their capacity to identify and protect victims of trafficking in human beings.
In Malta since 2020, the Human Rights Directorate within the Ministry for Home Affairs, Security, Reforms and Equality has been tasked with spearheading the reform on human trafficking and acts as the coordinating body of stakeholders working in this field, bring together current mechanisms, such as the current National Action Plan on Human Trafficking (2020-2023).
An Inter-Ministerial Committee, composed of focal persons from all government ministries was established as an essential tool for Malta’s efforts to meet obligations under European and international frameworks. The Committee is part of the mechanisms of the Technical Support Instrument (TSI) project being implemented in collaboration with the European Commission and the Council of Europe to set-up the relevant tools and structures and launch the first National Strategy and Action Plan Against Trafficking.
The simulation activity is an exercise where professionals directly involved in the fight against trafficking are brought together to learn through practical exercises how to detect, identify and refer victims of trafficking in human beings. Alleged victims were played by professional actors who followed scenarios based on the real-life cases whilst experts were in charge of evaluating the referral processes.
Dr Lynn Chircop Faure, Chairperson of the Anti-Trafficking Inter-Ministerial Committee, Senior Manager Initiatives Unit within the Human Rights Directorate who took part in the regional simulation, stated that “it has been a privilege to work closely with professionals from the Middle East and North Africa, and trainers from the Council of Europe during these intensive simulations focused on identifying victims of crime, referral procedures and the most effective responses to ensure protection is provided to potential victims of trafficking. A National Strategy must definitely include actions which will require national stakeholders to provide similar training to all the front line officers.”
During the training a particular emphasis was given to the victim-centred and human-rights based approach. Simulation exercises have offered a unique setting for participants to familiarise themselves with appropriate techniques to assist victims of trafficking in distress and enhance cooperation between sectors.
This designation shall not be construed as a designation of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of Council of Europe member States on this issue This simulation-based training is a first one of the whole series that will be organised during the 2023 in the Euro-Mediterranean and is aimed at the structuring of regional cooperation against trafficking in human beings in the region. This event was held in Malta, a member state of the Council of Europe to highlight the importance of the regional cooperation between all countries to combat this transnational phenomenon.
“I strongly believe that this exchange has further intensified the strong relationship and common characteristics that Malta shares with the countries from the Southern Region,” Chircop Faure said.