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The Home Affairs Ministry presents the National Strategic Plan against Trafficking and Exploitation of Human Beings 2021-2023

Wednesday 12 January 2022

The Ministry of Home Affairs has presented the National Strategic Plan against Trafficking and Exploitation of Human Beings 2021-2023, which establishes five priority objectives and sixteen lines of action that affect both public institutions and the third sector and whose objective is to enable a multidisciplinary and comprehensive approach to this serious and highly complex criminal phenomenon.

The Secretary of State for Security, Rafael Pérez, has reported on the final design of the strategic plan to the representatives of the different public bodies and specialised civil society organisations that participate in the follow-up meetings of the National Rapporteur against Trafficking in Human Beings, a body led by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

"It is an ambitious plan that aims to cover not only the fight against this crime, but also adequate assistance and protection for its victims," said the Secretary of State, who had already informed the National Security Council of its content last November. The strategic plan can be consulted on the website of the Ministry of Home Affairs, at this link.

The purpose of the strategic document is twofold: on one hand, to make the different measures already in place to prevent and prosecute human trafficking more effective and operational, and on the other hand, to promote new actions to cover those areas that have been addressed to a lesser extent or for which specific actions have not yet been defined or competencies attributed to the public authorities.

The plan strengthens and articulates measures not only to improve the fight against this crime, but also to facilitate adequate assistance and protection for its victims, all through a mechanism of close cooperation between the different agencies of the General State Administration involved, as well as with specialised civil society organisations.

The plan places victims at the centre of any action by the public authorities, adapts its attention to the different situations of vulnerability, addresses the sex dimension in an appropriate manner, is committed to an integral concept of trafficking that covers all the purposes of this crime, establishes a multidisciplinary perspective that guarantees the necessary interaction of all public and private actors, with special attention to civil society, and, finally, addresses the demand for services by victims of trafficking in human beings.

Priorities and measures

The plan sets out five core priority objectives, for the achievement of which it opens up sixteen lines of action, so that the whole will facilitate effective and comprehensive action against trafficking in human beings and in defence of its victims:

• Priority 1: Detection and prevention of trafficking in human beings

Raising awareness among the general population, especially among those who demand the services for which the victims are exploited, should make it possible in the medium and long term to put an end to such exploitation.

  • Line of action 1.1: Improving public awareness
  • Line of action 1.2: Enhancing the detection of possible cases of trafficking and exploitation of human beings
  • Line of action 1.3: Disincentivising demand for services from victims of trafficking and exploitation

• Priority 2: Identification, referral, protection, assistance and recovery of victims of trafficking in human beings

Considering victims as the backbone of any effective policy or action in the fight against trafficking and exploitation of human beings, putting them at the centre of all actions as rights holders, is the only way to achieve effective and lasting results in all areas of action.

  • Line of action 2.1: Promoting a comprehensive law to prevent and combat trafficking in human beings
  • Line of action 2.2: Optimise mechanisms for the formal identification of victims of trafficking in human beings.
  • Line of action 2.3: Improve the procedures used in the referral of victims of trafficking in human beings.
  • Line of action 2.4: Ensuring the protection and recovery of all victims of trafficking

• Priority 3: Prosecuting the crime

Trafficking in human beings is a serious violation of human rights and one of the most widespread forms of organised and serious crime, and requires very specific measures at a law enforcement and judicial level to neutralise the criminal networks and structures that enable them to make huge profits.

  • Line of action 3.1: Improve the legislative response
  • Line of action 3.2: Improve the police response
  • Line of action 3.3: Improve the judicial response

• Priority 4: Cooperation and coordination

Cooperation and coordination are two cross-cutting elements of the multidisciplinary and multi-sectoral approach of the plan, which seeks to reinforce and improve existing mechanisms, systematise the functions and competences of the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings, strengthen international cooperation with the countries of origin and transit of victims, as well as update or develop those plans and specific actions in all areas of trafficking in human beings, especially those of sexual exploitation and forced labour.

  • Line of action 4.1: Strengthen inter-agency coordination.
  • Line of action 4.2: Increase international cooperation, especially with the main source and transit countries of victims
  • Line of action 4.3: The role of civil society

• Priority 5: Improving knowledge

Promote the continuous training of legal operators or investigators involved in the detection and protection of victims as well as in the prevention and prosecution of crime. This training, in addition to covering trafficking in human beings in all its forms, should address sex, human rights and children's issues, as these are essential in understanding the functioning of the control mechanisms involved in human trafficking and exploitation.

  • Line of action 5.1.: Build a solid knowledge base on trafficking in human beings
  • Line of action 5.2.: Promote data quality and comparability
  • Line of action 5.3.: Establish streamlined mechanisms for the exchange of information and best practices.

CITCO coordinated the development

Human trafficking is a serious human rights violation that has become one of the most lucrative criminal activities worldwide, second only to drug trafficking and on a par with arms trafficking. It is a criminal phenomenon that attracts the specific attention of international organisations such as the United Nations and the European Union.

The Council of Europe's Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA), in its second assessment report to Spain published in June 2018, urged the Spanish authorities to adopt, as a matter of priority, a comprehensive plan to tackle trafficking in human beings, whatever the form of exploitation pursued, by improving the identification of and assistance to its victims.

The National Strategy against Organised Crime and Serious Crime 2019-2023, approved in February 2019 by the National Security Council, includes the fight against this crime as one of its priorities, for which it called for "establishing a specific national strategic plan" whose coordination it entrusted to the Secretary of State for Security of the Ministry of Home Affairs in collaboration with all the actors involved.

The Intelligence Centre against Terrorism and Organised Crime (CITCO) has been in charge of organising the work necessary for its materialisation, carried out by a group of experts from the Ministries of Home Affairs; Equality; Justice; Inclusion, Migration and Social Security; Labour and Social Economy; Social Rights and Agenda 2030; Education and Vocational Training, as well as the General Council of the Judiciary and the State Prosecutor's Office.

This working group has also had the collaboration and contributions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation; the Representation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); the Office for Spain of the International Labour Organization; the International Organization for Migration in Spain, as well as the Spanish Network against Trafficking in Persons, which brings together more than thirty organisations linked to the fight against trafficking and assistance to its victims.

The strategic plan is valid for three years. A Permanent Working Group with the participation of representatives of the constitutional bodies and ministerial agencies involved will prepare monitoring and evaluation reports under the coordination of CITCO and in regular consultation with specialised civil society organisations, as well as with those other partners who can provide relevant information on trafficking and exploitation of human beings.

This plan is also the reference framework for the drafting of other sectoral or specific comprehensive or action plans for specific purposes of trafficking in human beings and its exploitation, especially in the sexual and forced labour areas, which will in any case be a complementary development and will establish the necessary coordination mechanisms to that effect.

Non official translation