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Trafficking in human beings is a multisectoral and multifaceted phenomenon rooted in social, economic, cultural and political factors such as poverty, unemployment, inequality, humanitarian crises, social exclusion and marginalization. These factors may facilitate the exposure of some people to trafficking. In order to prevent trafficking in human beings, it is necessary that this preventive approach be based on human rights, that it integrates a gender mainstreaming approach and that it includes specific measures relating to children in order to reduce their vulnerability.

This requires firstly, the collection of the necessary data to capture the extent of trafficking in each country and/or region. This will allow the adoption of relevant procedures for the detection and identification of victims, the adoption of national or regional strategies including a set of policies and programmes in the fight against trafficking in human beings but also in areas directly or indirectly related to the issue of trafficking such as migration, organized crime, money laundering etc. 

The Council of Europe Convention on Action against Human Trafficking contains a positive obligation for Parties to adopt or strengthen and seek best practices, methods and strategies regarding measures to discourage demand (Article 6). Such measures may be legislative, administrative, educational, social, cultural or other.

The Convention also provides for the introduction of border measures (Article 7) and the adoption of necessary measures concerning the security and control of travel or identity documents (Article 8) and their legitimacy and validity (Article 9).

However, prevention involves awareness-raising and capacity-building actions as well for all actors likely to come into contact with victims of trafficking.

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