Amended Directive on human trafficking includes new forms of exploitation relevant to children’s rights to identity

The Council of the European Union and the European Parliament adopted Directive (EU) 2024/1712 of 13 June 2024 amending Directive 2011/36/EU on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims. Notable additions include now under the definition of exploitation the following ‘the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, including begging, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude, or the exploitation of criminal activities, or the removal of organs, or the exploitation of surrogacy, of forced marriage, or of illegal adoption’. It is worth highlighting that the last three practices have serious consequences for the potential victims’ identities, given the high risk of undue modification or falsification of children’s identities when these practices occur.

Thus, CHIP welcomes that the Directive on trafficking now also addresses these circumstances and is committed to continue working towards the prompt creation of children’s identities through birth registration, as a means of preventing these practices, as well as towards the prompt restoration of identities when elements of the latter have been unduly modified, falsified or are missing in such circumstances. It is also welcome that the new Directive further strengthens prevention measures as well as the support for and assistance to victims.

In the process of drafting of this new Directive, CHIP also joined a strong network of child-right focused civil society organisations wishing to see the placement of children in institutions included in the text as a form of potential trafficking. Despite the latter not having made it to the text of the new Directive – except in the Preamble – the advocacy undertaken will undoubtedly contribute to raising awareness as to the risks associated to institutional care of children and set a milestone for potential further amendments in the future.

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