Trafficking & smuggling
Human trafficking is the act of exploiting people for financial gain. It is essentially a form of modern slavery. Exploitation can be sexual – prostitution for example – or economic: construction, hospitality, or the domestic sector. Human trafficking is separate from human smuggling. The latter can be defined as the act of helping people to illegally cross a border for one’s own financial gain.
Myria’s legal role
Since 1995 Myria has been given the responsibility of driving, coordinating, and keeping up-to-date with policy on combatting human trafficking. Following the Act of 10 August 2005, this responsibility was extended to human smuggling. The Royal Decree of 16 May 2004 outlines these responsibilities.
National Independent Rapporteur
Myria publishes an annual public report that analyses progress and developments in the fight against human trafficking and smuggling. It is sent to the government and to parliament. This critical report provides the actors on the ground with substantial drive and support.
Coordination between specialized reception centres 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 cases of both human trafficking and smuggling, Myria can also take legal action and make statements, either in its own name or on behalf of the victim. We are thus authorized to take action against exploitation in prostitution, the hospitality sector, workmanship, horticulture, domestic staff, or large-scale smuggling networks. In addition to statement files, Myria follows relevant case law around human trafficking and smuggling.
Interdepartmental unit for coordination
Belgium has chosen a multidisciplinary approach to combatting human trafficking and smuggling. Myria submits this report to the secretariat of the Interdepartmental Unit of Coordination for Human Trafficking Prevention. The unit coordinates policy in the field at a national level. It is chaired by the Minister for Jusice.