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Minister Michael Farrugia addresses the OSCE workshop on human trafficking

Reference Number: PR192614, Press Release Issue Date: Dec 09, 2019
Minister for Home Affairs and National Security Michael Farrugia addressed the Organisation for Security and Cooperation Europe (OSCE) workshop on Human Trafficking on ‘Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants’.

Minister Michael Farrugia maintained that human trafficking is challenging because it is a complex crime, often taking place under a cover of apparent legality. The employment relationship between victim and perpetrator may be legal on paper but abusive in practice. Victims may be forced to work unreasonably long hours, or they may be bound to the employer by debt. Alternatively, they may be controlled by threats or use of force.

The minister maintained that addressing human trafficking requires cooperation among several stakeholders. Malta enhanced such cooperation through the creation of a high-level monitoring committee, involving representatives of different ministries that focuses on policy issues, and the creation of a stakeholder taskforce that focuses on an operational level.

Minister Michael Farrugia also spoke on the importance of training with regards to labour exploitation, sexual exploitation, and child trafficking. Minister Michael Farrugia stated that migration, including legal migration, may create situations conducive to human trafficking. Migrants may be vulnerable to exploitation, particularly when they are unfamiliar with the host country’s legal framework or social realities.

“We are fully aware that asylum seekers and irregular migrants may be vulnerable to exploitation. For this purpose, two academic studies were conducted to acquire knowledge about the local situation in this regard. While the studies confirmed that this population is vulnerable, they did not identify specific instances of human trafficking. It should also be noted; however, that Malta gives access to the labour market to asylum seekers early on, thereby mitigating the risk of human trafficking among this population”, stated Minister Farrugia.

The minister concluded that efforts are being made to raise awareness of human trafficking among the wider population. Cooperation is not only important at the international level, but also at the national level and such cooperation must be pursued at multiple levels.​