Laws and Policies

Legal Protection for Victims of Human Trafficking

Victims of Human Trafficking are encouraged to collaborate with the Principal Immigration Officer and the law enforcement bodies. By doing so they will benefit from a period of reflection and legal protection to be able to detach themselves from the influence of the perpetrators of the offence and take an informed decision on the prospects of further cooperation.

The cooperation of non-governmental organisation and other national service providers may be required to inform potential victims concerned about their rights and how to access national safety & protection services.

All forms of trafficking are prohibited by the Criminal Code (Chap. 9). Following Malta’s commitment to the United Nations Protocol to Prevent and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Act III (entitled Of The Traffic of Persons) was introduced in the Criminal Code in 2002. Nonetheless, trafficking in persons in Malta for the purposes of sexual exploitation was already a criminal offence under the White Slaves Traffic (Suppression) Ordinance (Chap. 63). The White Slave Traffic (Suppression) Ordinance transposed the 1904 International Agreement for the Suppression of White Slave Traffic into national law, which was subsequently amended by the Protocol approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 3 December 1948.
Following the adoption of new legislative amendments in 2013, punishment for human trafficking cases range from six to twelve years' imprisonment. In cases of trafficking for the removal of organs the sentence is imprisonment for a term of between four and twelve years. Sentences are increased by one degree where the victim is a minor. The prescribed penalties are commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes. Additionally, the crime of trafficking in persons is also dealt with under the Title of the Maltese Criminal Code focusing on Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes and the Title addressing Crimes Against the Peace and Honour of Families and Against Morals.
Subsidiary Legislation (S.L. 217/07) transposing Council Directive 2004/81/EC (on the residence permit issued to third country nationals who are victims of trafficking of human beings or who have been the subject of an action to facilitate illegal immigration) was passed in 2007. This legislation provides for giving victims of trafficking or illegal immigrants who cooperate with the Maltese authorities’ permission to reside in Malta for a period of six months (renewable). This legislation also provides for a reflection period of up to two months, prior to the granting of the six-month residence permit.
With a view to further strengthening legal provisions in the area of trafficking in persons for organ removal and organ trafficking the parliament published a new law on Human Organs, Tissues and Cells Donation Act, (Cap 558 of the Laws of Malta) on the 16 of December 2016. This Act made consequential amendments to the Criminal Code (Cap 9 of the Laws of Malta) therefore Article 248CA addresses measures related to the abuse of persons or abuse of organ harvesting for the purpose of exploitation. Article 248CA of the Criminal Code is intended to make provisions for substantive articles of the Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Organs and to ensure full compliance with the said Convention.
The Victims of Crime Act was also amended with a new provision, Article 14A allows a judge to appoint a specially trained expert as a support person to assist a child victim throughout the court proceedings and for a further period following its conclusion. Further amendments included the introduction of trained support persons to assist child victims throughout the court proceedings and afterwards. Two new services were added to the list of minimum services for victims of crimes including victims of THB, namely medical treatment, and protection measures against the risks of intimidation and retaliation. In July 2019, the Child Protection (Alternative Care) Act was substituted by the Minor Protection (Alternative Care) Act which covers various aspects of child protection including a review of the childcare system, protection of children during judicial procedures, the availability of children’s advocates, and issues related to foster care.


  • The Criminal Code, Chapter 9 of the Laws of Malta.
  • Victims of Crime Act, Chapter 539 of the Laws of Malta.
  • The White Slaves Traffic (Suppression) Ordinance, Chapter 63 of the Laws of Malta.
  • The Employment and Industrial Relations Act, Chapter 452 of the Laws of Malta.
  • Human Organs, Tissues and Cell Donation Act, Chapter 558 of the Laws of Malta.
  • The Children and Young Persons (Care Order) Act, Chapter 258.
  • Minor Protection (Alternative Care) of 2019, Chapter 602 of the Laws of Malta.
  • Permission to Reside for victims of Trafficking or Illegal Immigration who co-operate with the Maltese Authorities Regulations, Subsidiary Legislation 217.07.
  • Minimum Standards on Sanctions and Measures against Employers of Illegally Staying Third-Country Nationals Regulations, Subsidiary Legislation 217.14.
  • Young Persons (Employment) Regulations, Subsidiary Legislation 452.92.
  • Legal Aid Agency (Establishment) Order, Subsidiary Legislation 595.11.
  • Legal Notice 418 of 2020, Victim Support Agency,
  • Legal Notice 205 of 2009, Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers Regulations, 2009.