Human trafficking

ILO shares views with the Belgian Parliament on improving legislation and policy on human trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation

ILO-Brussels participated in a Belgian Parliament hearing on human trafficking and smuggling and shared its views on how to combat human trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation.

News | 07 October 2022

ILO-Brussels participated in a hearing in the Belgian Parliament on human trafficking and smuggling and shared key observations, good practices and recommendations to better identify and protect the victims of trafficking for labour exploitation and to improve prosecution rates of perpetrators. The hearing was organized by the Special Committee charged with the evaluation of legislation and policy on trafficking and smuggling of human beings, which invited the ILO and EUROJUST, the EU Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation, as experts.

Both the Director of ILO-Brussels, Lieve Verboven, and Policy Officer, Irene Wintermayr, discussed issues such as the detection and identification of victims, access to protection, the prosecution of perpetrators, access to redress and the compensation for victims of human trafficking in particular those of labour exploitation.

The ILO presenters drew on the recent ILO technical report on access to protection and remedy for human trafficking victims for the purpose of labour exploitation in Belgium and the Netherlands as well as the observations of the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations to put forward specific recommendations to the committee. These included ensuring adequate capacity and training to key frontline actors, such as police officers, social and labour inspectors, and legal actors like magistrates, prosecutors and judges to ensure they can effectively protect victims, investigate all cases and prosecute perpetrators. An emphasis was also placed on ensuring better support for migrant workers, including those in an irregular situation, in accessing their labour rights, such as claiming outstanding wages.

The ILO also referred to the Global Estimates on Modern Slavery to emphasize the vulnerable position of migrants, who are three times more likely to end up in forced labour, and the fact that forced labour is often hidden, but occurs everywhere, including in high- and middle income countries.

Committee members then asked further questions on some of the topics tackled, such as the prevention and protection of cases of labour trafficking and good practices in other countries.

The Committee will continue to dive deeper into the topic of human trafficking for labour exploitation and will proceed its session inviting social partners, NGOs such as Fairwork Belgium and academics who work on these issues.

Based on the findings of the ongoing discussions, the Committee will draft a report which will be presented to the plenary session of the Belgian Parliament with the aim to work more efficiently on the amendment and voting of legislations on the topic.