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Ylva Johansson: 'Impunity is over' for human trafficking in the European Union

EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson speaks to media about the EU resettlement pledge 2024-2025.
EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson speaks to media about the EU resettlement pledge 2024-2025. Copyright Martial Trezzini/KEYSTONE / MARTIAL TREZZINI
Copyright Martial Trezzini/KEYSTONE / MARTIAL TREZZINI
By Euronews
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The outgoing European Commissioner for Home Affairs said that human trafficking should be a crime in the whole of the European Union.

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Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson participated in a meeting of the EU Network of National Coordinators and Rapporteurs, on trafficking in human beings - the last meeting of her mandate.

High on the agenda was the European Union's approach to human trafficking, in which she declared "impunity is over" for those guilty of trafficking.

"Last year, traffickers generated over 200 billion dollars worldwide. We are now countering the culture of impunity with a new asset recovery rule that I put forward. We'll take away the fast cars, big houses and mountains of cash from the criminals" said Johansson.

"In the updated anti-trafficking directive I'll make sure it will soon be a crime in the whole European Union to knowingly use the service of trafficked victims."

"Previously, it was only criminalised in a few member states," she added.

Combatting Human Trafficking

The European Union launched a strategy to combat human trafficking in April 2021, which supported an additional proposal in December 2022 which was adopted by co-legislators on 27 May 2024.

The directive aims to provide stronger tools for law enforcement and judicial authorities to prosecute exploitation. EU member states have two years to put the directive into national law.

Johansson pointed specifically to the plight of Ukrainian refugees, who she said were at specific risk of human traffickers following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

"Ukrainian women and children remain vulnerable and a target. The threat is not over. We need to remain vigilant. And I am glad in March, Europol set up an operational task force against traffickers targeting Ukrainians," commented Johansson.

The European Union's directive also aims to prosecute labour exploitation. A joint action led by the governments of 31 countries and Europol resulted in 51 arrests in April.

Johansson - who is an MEP for the Swedish Social Democratic Party - has been Commissioner for Home Affairs since 2019.

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