News Updates

News Updates for December 2023 - February 2024

Between December 2023 and February 2024, the HRIU coordinated the validation of the Final Draft of the National Strategy and Action Plan (2024-2028) on Combatting Human Trafficking in Malta through the IMC to ensure its endorsement by all Ministries, departments, authorities and entities.

On 6th February 2024, the University of Malta invited the HRIU to a Roundtable consultation on the use of digital evidence in the prevention and countering of human trafficking (DISRUPT) organised by the Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences. The Unit coordinated invitations to government stakeholders to this roundtable through the IMC.

On 8th of February 2024, IOM invited HRIU to a Roundtable focusing on the project ‘Re-Build: Supporting Survivors of THB in Malta’ to exchange information and experiences on the current THB situation in Malta.

The Fourth Meeting of the Advisory Group of the COE/EU Joint TSI Project, held on 15th February 2024, discussed the adoption process of the National THB Strategy and Action Plan 2024-2028 and upcoming activities pertaining to the second phase of the Project.

On 19th February 2024, the HRIU provided information to the FRONTEX Vulnerability Assessment Unit about the Strategic Areas within the upcoming National THB Strategy and the concrete actions to for which the Malta Police Force are responsible to implement within the New Action Plan 2024 – 2028.

Additionally, the HRIU attended the FSWS Roundtable on Temping Agencies and Labour Exploitation held on 26th February 2024.

News Updates for November

The HRIU organised a consultation session with civil society organisations and trade unions on 1st November, which aimed to obtain feedback on the upcoming awareness raising material.

Between 6th and 7th of November, the HRIU attended the Meeting of the EU Network of National Rapporteurs and Equivalent Mechanisms (NREMs) on trafficking in human beings which focused upon reviewing the various anti-trafficking initiatives taking place in various Member States. The Unit also attended the Joint Meeting of the EU NREMs and Civil Society Platform against trafficking in human beings which focused on the European-wide awareness raising campaign and included the participation of NGOs from across Europe.

Between 13th and 16th November, the TSI Working Groups, composed of various national stakeholders, were hosted by the Council of Europe Division on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, and chaired by the HRD. The aim of the Working Groups is to improve the coordination, planning, implementation and monitoring of the measures currently being designed through a multi-sectoral approach.

News Updates for October

During the month of October, the third meeting of the Advisory Group of the COE/EU joint Project “Supporting Malta in the design and implementation of a new anti-trafficking Strategy” took place, along with an online workshop on the preliminary draft assessment report on 'Partnerships' was held on October 13th, which included presentations by:

  • The Malta Police Force
  • The Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU)
  • The Office of the State Advocate

The GRETA Roundtable took place on October 10th at the Valletta University Campus, with over 50 participants from the government, civil society and the private sector. The discussion focused upon victims' access to justice, human trafficking investigations, and proactive victim identification.

The HRIU also attended the US and Malta Focal Point Meeting under the UNTOC Review Mechanism on 12th October, which focused upon victim identification, compensation, and training initiatives for judicial personnel.

The HRIU also virtually participated in the 4th Plenary Meeting of the Committee of the Parties to the Convention against Trafficking in Human Organs (THO) held in Strasbourg, France between the 25th and 26th of October, which discussed the work of the European Committee on Organ Transplantation, and allowed for an exchange of views between GRETA and the Committee of the Parties to the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings

To raise awareness for EU Anti-Trafficking Day, a HRD representative participated in a radio interview, discussing topics such as human rights, the protection​ of fundamental rights in Maltese law, modern slavery, and the significance of awareness campaigns against human trafficking.

News Updates for September

This month the HRIU attended the LGBTIQ+ Human Rights Conference as part of EUROPRIDE Valletta 2023. This conference aimed at building bridges across the Mediterranean Sea and sought to take stock of the progress and challenges in the advancement of LGBTIQ+ rights in this geographic region. All this, while creating an opportunity to share experiences and good practices in order to strengthen and identify room for improvement in the efforts towards LGBTIQ+ equality and non-discrimination. The sessions discussed persisting themes which remain relevant to the LGBTIQ+ community in the region.

During September, the HRIU organised the Fourth Meeting of the IMC Working Group on Criminal Justice & Legislative Amendments.

THE HRIU also attended the Council of Europe’s regional simulation entitled “Referral of victims of trafficking in human beings: towards a victim-centred approach in criminal proceedings” which was held in Spain - Baeza on 24 – 29 September 2023. This activity was organised within the framework of the joint programmes of the European Union and the Council of Europe "Improving the functioning, performance and access to justice in Tunisia" (AP- JUST) and “Protecting human rights, the rule of law and democracy through shared standards in the southern Mediterranean” (South Programme V).

The simulation focused on criminal proceedings and the role of judicial actors in this process, in coordination with other multisectoral stakeholders. It focused on fair victim-centred investigations and prosecutions in accordance with a human rights-based approach. National, regional and international stakeholders in the fight against trafficking in human beings in several countries participated in this event.

News Updates for July and August

During the month of July, the HRIU organised the Second Meeting of the IMC Working Group on Criminal Justice & Legislative Amendments. The HRIU attended FAST-FIAU, a roundtable discussion on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Risks and the Financial Sector in Malta. The main focus of this activity was on discussing and developing indicators of human trafficking and red flags from the FIAU to enhance the reporting of suspicious transactions in Malta, among other objectives.

The HRIU also held an event for the UN Blue Heart Campaign. This year's theme was 'Reach Every Victim of Human Trafficking, Leave No One Behind', which encourages all stakeholders to reach out to every victim of human trafficking with a strong appeal to leave no one behind. The event saw prominent national stakeholders from the public service, the private sector, civil society, trade unions and international organisations come together to strengthen their collaboration and multi-disciplinary approach in order to fight against human trafficking. The HRIU also held a presentation at the FSWS Human Trafficking Conference.

During the month of Aug​ust the Third Meeting of the IMC Working Group on Criminal Justice & Legislative Amendments was held. HRIU was also invited to raise awareness on Campus FM, 103 Malta’s Heart and Radju Malta.

News Updates for June

During the month of June, the HRIU organised the third Anti-Human Trafficking Inter-Ministerial Committee Meeting to commemorate World Day Against Child Labour which focused upon  the targeted revision of the 2011/36/EU Directive on Preventing and Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings and Protecting its Victims. The HRIU attended the Second Meeting of the Advisory Group of the COE/EU joint Project “Supporting Malta in the design and implementation of a new anti-trafficking Strategy” as well as Project roundtables and bilateral meetings on prevention, protection and prosecution which shall serve as the last step before initiating the drafting process of the future anti-trafficking strategy.

The HRIU also held a collaboration meeting with FIAU to discuss further avenues for partnership in the fight against trafficking through the cooperation of the National Financial Institutions.

The Anti-Human Trafficking Inter-Ministerial Committee set up a Working Group on Criminal Justice & Legislative Amendments and convened an initial meeting between MHSR and HRD to discuss the Urgent GRETA Recommendations to Malta.

News Updates for May

During this month, HRIU worked to establish cooperation efforts with BeSmartOnline! within the Foundation for Social Welfare Services and met with Focal Persons representing various Ministries to discuss collaboration plans focusing on the prevention of child exploitation. Senior Manager HRIU also participated in the Regional Workshop to Address Technology-Facilitated Trafficking in Human Beings held between 16th – 18th May, at The Hague, The Netherlands.

Additionally, HRIU was also invited on the programme TVAM to discuss the abuse of foreign workers and social injustices.

News Updates for April

During the month of April, the HRIU continued collaboration meetings concerning Action 9 of the National Action Plan on Human Trafficking, which concerns ‘Research among former victims of human trafficking in Malta, with a view to obtaining information about their recruitment and experience, as well as the efficacy of assistance provided’.

Dr Lynn Chircop Faure also represented Malta in Vienna at the 23rd Conference of the Alliance against Trafficking in Persons and in Brussels at the Meeting of the EU Network of National Rapporteurs and Equivalent Mechanisms on Trafficking in Human Beings. The aim of the Conference was to strengthen the response of all States to prevent and eradicate human trafficking, by generating the necessary political will to tackle the issue. “Political will is the single most important ingredient for our success,” said the OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings Valiant Richey, who gave his last speech during this event. He represented the OSCE at the political level on anti-trafficking issues since 2019. In January 2022 he visited Malta and offered his assistance in the development and implementation of anti-trafficking initiatives. A set of recommendations to Malta were drawn by his office. Malta has been working on the new Strategy to combat human trafficking since then.

Additionally, the National Awareness Campaign on Human Trafficking continued through the launch of a new billboard in Qormi, a series of new bus shelters across the Island and an invitation to the radio programme ‘Campus Magazine’.​

News Updates for March

During March, HRIU attended and assisted in the organisation of EU/CoE Joint Project events. The first event, the Capacity Building Session on Investigation and Prosecution of Cases of Trafficking in Human Beings was held at the Academy for Disciplined Forces on 1st March 2023. This training was presented by two experts of the Council of Europe, Mr Bernie Gravett and Mr Colin Carswell, and focused upon victim identification, investigating human trafficking, organised crime, and Joint Investigation Teams. Amongst the participants were the Malta Police Force, the Office of the Attorney General, the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit, the National Statistics Office, Jobsplus, Victim Support Agency, the Foundation for Social Welfare Services as well as NGOs. The second event was Webinar entitled ‘Preventing and Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings for the purpose of Labour Exploitation in Malta’, which was held online on 20th March 2023. The Webinar focused upon the 4P’s: Prevention, Protection, Prosecution and Partnerships, as well as corporate responsibility.

The HRIU also held the second Anti-Human Trafficking Inter-Ministerial Committee meeting on 23rd March 2023. Presentations were given by:

  1. The Council of Europe on the Joint Project ‘Supporting Malta in the design and implementation of a new National Anti-Trafficking Strategy’
  2. The Permanent Representation of Malta to the European Union relating to the proposal for the revision of the 2011/36/EU Directive on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and Protecting its Victims
  3. The Foundation for Social Welfare Services on the findings of the ‘All Equal- Supporting Victims of Human Trafficking’ Project 

Additionally, the Unit was invited on national radio and television stations to raise awareness on the crime of human trafficking.

Thursday, 23rd February 2023 – 10:30hrs - ‘Ghall Kulhadd’ presented by Ms Christine Delicata on Radju Malta

Monday, 6th March 2023– 10:30hrs - ‘BRUNCH’ presented by Marbeck Spiteri on NET TV .

Monday, 6th March 2023 – 11:00hrs - ‘Fost il-Ġimgħa' presented by Matilde Balzan on ONE TV

Tuesday, 7th March 2023 – 21:00hrs - ‘REALTÁ’ presented by Brian Hansford on TVMNews+

News Updates for February

  1. Regional Train the Trainer in Tunisia
    ​​Senior Manager HRIU attended the Regional Train the Trainer organised by the “Fifth South Program South Programme and the Bodies Support Program” of the Council of Europe in Tunisia. This Training was attended by members of the Judiciary, Chief Prosecutors, Legal Professionals and leadership of national authorities from the MED Region and focused on the methodology of the European Programme for the Training of Law Professionals in the Field of Human Rights (HELP), and on combating human trafficking.​

  2. Launch of National Awareness Campaign on Human Trafficking
    In February, the Human Rights Initiatives Unit has launched a national awareness campaign to raise the awareness of the public on what constitutes the crime of human trafficking – be sure to look out for our bus shelters and billboards!
  3. Reconvening of the Human Trafficking Monitoring Committee
    The re-composed Human Trafficking Monitoring Committee met on the 2nd February. This meeting kick-started the work of the Committee and allowed for the members to be updated on the work conducted by the Human Rights Initiatives Unit. 
  4. Regional Train the Trainer in Strasbourg
    Senior Manager HRIU attended training on criminal investigation, prosecution and adjudication of human trafficking cases, and strategic partnerships at the Headquarters of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France and visited the European Court of Human rights between the 6-10 February 2023. The aim of this ToT was to constitute a pool of regional multi-agency focal points from different countries to build and support a solid regional cooperation on combatting trafficking in human beings.
The Human Rights Initiatives Unit within the Human Rights Directorate is the national coordinator of the Anti-Trafficking Reform.

With the technical support of the Council of Europe, engaged through a Joint Project funded by the European Commission, and the Inter-Ministerial Committee, Malta is currently drafting a National Strategy on Human Trafficking which seeks to close the gaps in the system and identify the tools required for the effective implementation of a New Action Plan.

This Joint Council Europe/European Union Project was officially launched on the 6th of December 2022 through a Kick-Off event which brought together the members of the Anti-Human Trafficking Inter-Ministerial and other representatives from national public and private organisations which are of great importance in the fight against the crime of human trafficking.

Ms. Stephanie Burel - Programme Manager at the Council of Europe Anti-Trafficking Division, presented the preliminary findings of the Inception period of the project to the Advisory Group in a meeting convened on the 30th of January and the Human Trafficking Monitoring Committee on the 2nd of February. This Committee is chaired by Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Home Affairs, Security, Reforms and Equality and shall serve as a vital mechanism to monitor this project among other functions.