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 characteristics. It provides public authorities, civil society, and wider society with accurate information on migration movements (both inward and outward) and residence of foreign nationals. Our role is chiefly to publish demographics and studies around specific issues. Since 2008, Myria has been the contact point in Belgium for the European Migration Network (EMN), an organization that allows Member States and European institutions to collect objective, reliable and up-to-date information.
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 relevant 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, opportunity for citizenship, issues relating to detention and deportation, etc. Myria makes observations on these issues and gives recommendations to public authorities and civil society in the clearest, most dynamic way possible.
Trafficking, which is often considered a modern form of slavery, involves exploitation of people in a variety of fields. Both sexual exploitation (often as part of prostitution) as well as economic exploitation (through labour) are concerned. We define human smuggling as profiting from the facilitation of illegal immigration.
On 1 September 2014, the Royal Decree was published officially appointing Myria as the independent National Rapporteur on Human Trafficking, alongside 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 regularly votes to file civil charges on human trafficking and smuggling cases. This allows Myria to share its expertise with the judiciary and other stakeholders and to acquire a thorough knowledge on the subject. It aims to continue its role as an independent monitoring mechanism, in relation to all human rights which falls under its responsibility while prioritizing communication and cooperation.
Every year Myria draws up an independent public evaluation report describing the developments and results in the fight against international human trafficking. It also coordinates three specialized reception centres for trafficking victims.