Malta taking 'tough action' to combat human trafficking

The Ministry for Justice and Home Affairs will be publishing an action plan on the fight against human trafficking after the ‘Trafficking In Persons Report’ by the State Department of the United States of America rated Malta at Tier 2.

Malta, Cyprus as well as Estonia appear on a Tier 2 ‘Watch List’ along with – among others – Russia, Afghanistan and Belarus: the Watch List signifies that they do not comply with US norms and while they are making significant efforts to do so, there is little or no evidence that these efforts are proving effective.  The report recommends that Malta punishes human trafficking offenders more harshly. In the case of Malta it suggests, among other measures, that it should do more to identify victims and that it should punish them less.

“Although this rating means that according to the US authorities the Maltese authorities can do more in order to combat human trafficking in the country, at the same time it acknowledges that actions are already being undertaken by the Maltese authorities to combat human trafficking,” the ministry said.

The MJHA said it does not consider that there is widespread human trafficking activity in Malta, but said its approach to this problem has by no means been complacent.

“Government strongly believes that even a few cases of human trafficking cannot be tolerated and is acting to identify these and prosecute as necessary. Earlier this year, the Prime Minister appointed Malta’s first anti-Human Trafficking Coordinator, as well as a high-level Monitoring Committee which includes the major stakeholders in the sector. The Coordinator ensures that human trafficking is addressed in a strategically effective manner, whilst the Monitoring Committee, among its other tasks, monitors the performance of individual stakeholders,” the ministry said.

A training programme for stakeholders in the sectors, including two NGOs, was held earlier this month. This training programme was co-financed by the United States G-TIP Office and delivered by two experts from the International Office of Migration.

The Human Trafficking Action Plan for Malta will provide for action in all spheres of the fight against human trafficking, such as the prevention of human trafficking, prosecution of offenders and protection of victims, further to providing for the further allocation of resources to counter this crime.

“Government considers that, whereas cases of human trafficking may not be widespread, certain social groups may be more exposed to exploitation than others. This may include in particular certain categories of asylum seekers who would not be aware of the phenomenon of human trafficking or the different ways in which it manifests itself.

“In order to reach and, where necessary, assist such vulnerable persons, Caritas and the Jesuit Refugee Service have teamed up with Government in the fight against this phenomenon. This is in recognition of the fact that one of the main challenges in the fight against human trafficking, be it in Malta or elsewhere, remains the identification of victims of this crime.”

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The USA dictates and we humbly dance to the tune - after their sophisticated jet fighters keep landing, bombs and all, at our airport. And Gonzi, helplessly looks on!
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Is human trafficking about boat loads of people leaving Libya for Europe? . Is it about eastern European women working as pole dancers in gentlenen's clubs in Paceville? . Is it about non-eu students who come to Malta to study English then disappear underground in the rest of Europe? . Or is it about asylum seekers trapped in Malta who being offered a way out? . Maybe it is a combination of all the above.