Ministries and embassies and cooperation

Trafficking in human beings (THB) for labour exploitation is a complex issue. A multidisciplinary, integrated approach is needed for an effective fight against THB for labour exploitation. Because of the cross-border nature of THB for labour exploitation, cooperation between source and destination countries of THB for labour exploitation is essential.

Multidisciplinary cooperation

As part of a multidisciplinary cooperation against THB for labour exploitation, ministries and embassies could:

Keep each other informed about national and EU developments

If ministries keep their embassies, especially in the main source countries of THB for labour exploitation, informed about the main developments in the area of anti-trafficking policy in their country and at EU-level, they enable the embassies to better direct their anti-trafficking activities.

Similarly, if embassies keep their ministries informed about the situation in their host country, the ministries can use that information when developing their policies and activities.

Read more

ICMPD, Stepping Up the Fight against Trafficking for Labour Exploitation, Vienna, 2013.

Cross-border cooperation

As part of a cross-border cooperation against THB for labour exploitation, embassies could:

Help to bridge differences in culture and organisation

Embassies are important connecting links and communication channels between countries. Source and destination countries that wish to develop cooperation against THB for labour exploitation sometimes face cultural and organisational differences. Embassies can help explain these differences and identify the relevant counterparts, thereby paving the way for closer cooperation.

Coordinate their approach with embassies and consulates of EU and/or Schengen countries

Traffickers are very adept at directing their victims to apply for visa at the Schengen embassy or consulate where they believe they have the best chance of success. Once inside the Schengen zone, they can always move their victim from one country to another.

To prevent such visa shopping, it is important for the embassies of EU and/or Schengen countries in a third country to keep each other informed about trends detected by the relevant authorities in the member states, and coordinate their approach.

More broadly, embassies could also consider coordinating their activities in projects for awareness raising and/or capacity building which they fund in the host country. This kind of coordination could for example be set up in the priority third countries and regions that the EU adopted in December 2012, to develop more concrete partnerships to address THB.

See: Council of the European Union, Action-Oriented Paper on strengthening the EU external dimension on action against trafficking in human beings - second implementation report/update of information on member states’ external action, 13661/3/12REV3, 2012.

Engage in a dialogue with authorities and civil society in their host country

Because some parts of the trafficking process may take place in the country of origin and other parts in the country of destination, the solutions to the problem may also need to be implemented in both countries. Embassies could help the authorities responsible in both countries to coordinate their response. For example, by inviting stakeholders around the table and organising networking events to support multidisciplinary and cross-border cooperation. Contacts with civil society in the country of origin may for example lead to signs of THB or facilitate contact between victims and the authorities.

The Dutch Embassy in the Philippines, for example, holds regular dialogues with stakeholders in the country.