Myria, the Belgian Federal Migration Centre, is an independent public body. It analyses migration, defends the rights of foreigners and combats human smuggling and trafficking. Myria promotes public policies based on evidence and human rights.
On the one hand, Myria examines and follows the evolution of migration movements, focusing on their nature and dimensions. It makes available to public authorities, civil society and society at large information that is as accurate as possible on the migration movements (entries/exits) and the residence of foreigners. This mission consists mainly in the publication of online demographics and studies of specific issues. Since 2008, Myria has been the contact point in Belgium for the European Migration Network (EMN), which is an instrument that allows Member States and European institutions to collect objective, reliable and up to date information.
Furthermore, Myria works to ensure that the basic rights of foreigners are respected, through field observations (particularly within closed centres) and by carefully following the complex legislation that regulates this issue. It also provides first line support to persons who wish to receive information on their fundamental rights or residency status. Through an ongoing dialogue with the authorities (local, regional and federal) and other competent public services, Myria works to ensure that these rights are respected within all areas affecting the status of foreigners: international protection, territorial access, residency, the right to live within a family, access to work and to a career, access to nationality, issues relating to detention and deportation, etc. Myria provides observations and recommendations to public authorities and civil society on these issues in the clearest, most dynamic way possible.
Trafficking, which is often considered as a modern form of slavery, consists mostly of the exploitation of people in various sectors. Both sexual exploitation (mostly as part of prostitution) as well as economic exploitation (through labour) is concerned. By smuggling of human beings we mean profiting from the help which is given to foreigners in their illegal immigration.
On 1 September 2014, the Royal Decree was published officially appointing Myria as the independent component of the mechanism for a National Rapporteur on Human Trafficking, in addition to the Interdepartmental Coordination Unit which reports on behalf of the Belgian State. Myria will retain its powers to take legal action. The board of directors regularely votes to file civil charges in cases of human trafficking and human smuggling). This facilitates Myria to share its expertise with the judiciary and other stakeholders and to acquire a thorough knowledge on the phenomenon. It aims to continue its role as an independent monitoring mechanism, in relation to all human rights which falls under its compentence, in a spirit of dialogue and cooperation.
Every year Myria draws up an independent public evaluation report describing the developments and results in the fight against international trade in human beings. It also coordinates three specialised reception centres for trafficking-victims.