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Since 2011, the European Union’s efforts to prevent and combat human trafficking have primarily centered around Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on combating trafficking in human beings, replacing Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA. The directive has served as the legal basis for a robust criminal justice response, as well as for high standards in the protection and support of victims. However, recent developments call for an update to the current text.

In April 2021, the Commission presented the EU Strategy to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings (2021-2025), which focuses primarily on preventing this form of crime, prosecuting traffickers, protecting victims, and empowering them to take action. The evaluation and potential revision of the directive on combating trafficking in human beings to align with its objectives were among the key actions outlined in the strategy.

As human trafficking is often perpetrated by organized criminal groups, the strategy to combat human trafficking is closely linked to the EU’s strategy to combat organized crime. Protecting society against organized crime, especially in the fight against human trafficking, is a priority of the EU’s strategy for the security union.

Key normative instruments related to human trafficking since 2004*:

*It is important to note that this list is not exhaustive, and other European Union instruments may also contribute to the fight against these crimes.

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