Shelters for victims
Myria oversees the group of three specialized reception centres for victims of human trafficking: Payoke (Anvers), PAG-ASA (Brussels) and Sürya (Liège). We organize regular consultation meetings and, if necessary, we ask the relevant authorities to intervene in finding a solution to problems that arise.
In Belgium, the federal government, communities, and regions subsidize three centres that specialize in the reception of human trafficking victims. These are Pag-Asa in Brussels, Sürya in Liège, and Payoke in Anvers.
Belgium has opted for a multi-disciplinary approach as part of its efforts to combat human trafficking. In addition to suppressing the perpetrators, special attention is also given to victims. The majority of victims are discovered by police officers during checks, who send them on to specialized centres. They are also discovered by social services, prosecution services, work auditors, and the Immigration Office. Members of public can contact the relevant centres through these services.
Shelters and Out-Patient Support
Often the victim has nowhere to sleep other than the place where they were exploited, or another place where their safety is at risk. This is why centres linked to shelters have secret addresses where the victims can stay for a limited period. They are then supported as out-patients. If they do not need to stay in a shelter, they automatically receive support as an out-patient.
Shelters and the multifaceted teams that run them (educators, social workers, criminologists…) provide a three-pronged plan:
1. Psychological and Medical Aid
The goal is to help the victims to overcome their past experiences and the trauma they have suffered, to enable them to regain control of their current lives as best they can, and to help them develop realistic plans for the future. This requires the victim to enroll in language classes, vocational training, or to look for a job.
2. Administrative Support
This support principally consists of requesting documents detailing their status as a human trafficking victim: expulsion order (45 days leeway), certificate of registration (3 months, with the possibility of extension), enrolment certificate for the foreign register (6 months, with the possibility of extension) and regularization. If the victim wishes to return to their country of origin, the centre will contact the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to arrange their voluntary return. If necessary, family members present or local organizations are contacted.
3. Legal Assistance
The centres’ aim is to ensure the victim’s rights and interests are protected during the legal procedure that determines the details of their trafficking, meanwhile informing them and offering them help from a lawyer. This equips them to make an informed decision on whether or not to lodge a complaint. Shelters can also make a complaint, either in their own name or on behalf of the victim.
These centres are not structurally designed for minors. As a result, minors are registered with centres for foreign unaccompanied minors/victims of trafficking such as Esperanto in Wallonia, Juna in Flanders, or Minor N’Dako in Brussels. These centres ensure that the minors are accomodated and given legal and administrative support. Since 2002, they have put in place a “mentor” system, which assigns a mentor to each unaccompanied minor. The mentor is responsible for protecting the minor and holding their best interests at heart.
2022 Annual report trafficking and smuggling of human beings
Myria, the independent national rapporteur on trafficking in human beings, is publishing its 2022 public and independent annual report in English entitled Bound by debt.
2021 Annual report trafficking and smuggling of human beings
Myria, the Federal Migration Centre and independent national rapporteur on trafficking in human beings, is publishing its 2021 public and independent annual report in English today: Visibly invisible. Aimed at the Government and Parliament, this report provides an impetus and offers support to the relevant stakeholders.
Moving to Belgium as an EU citizen
Myria presents the study 'Moving to Belgium as an EU citizen' to the general public. The study points out a number of shortcomings in the registration formalities of EU citizens in the municipality. It contains recommendations to guarantee the free movement of EU workers, self-employed persons and jobseekers and their families.
2020 Annual report trafficking and smuggling of human beings
In its annual report entitled Behind closed doors Myria hightlights the need to raise awareness on the exploitation of domestic workers, the special attention that needs to be paid to diplomatic domestic staff and the COVID-19 aspect.
Myriadoc 10: Belgium, on the road to the United Kingdom
In this publication, Myria focusses on transit migration, and specifically on transit migrants who want to get to the United Kingdom.
2019 Annual report trafficking and smuggling of human beings
Justice for human trafficking victims has a long way to go. With its annual report, Myria wants to contribute to their empowerment and has put together concrete recommendations for the attention of public authorities.