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Migration and Home Affairs

General information: situation on trafficking in human beings

The government of Malta remains committed to suppress trafficking in human beings trafficking through several initiatives, including the development of victim assistance services, training of government officials, and raising public awareness on the topic.

The fight against trafficking in human beings portfolio was recently transferred from the Ministry for Home Affairs, National Security and Law Enforcement (MHSE) to the Ministry for Equality, Research and Innovation (MFER), under the anti-trafficking Office within the Human Rights Directorate.

Human Rights Directorate

The Human Rights Directorate took over reporting duties in relation to trafficking in human beings for questionnaires or surveys at both national and international level, such as to the Council of Europe, EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, and to the U.S. Department of State.

The Human Rights Directorate coordinates and collaborates with other ministries as necessary to ensure that the government procures necessary resources to spearhead the anti-trafficking policy and succeeds in its endeavours.

Human Rights Initiatives Unit

The Human Rights Initiatives Unit was set-up in 2020 following the widening of the Human Rights Directorate Portfolio to include reforms on trafficking in human beings, prostitution, and cannabis. These reforms were initiated under the responsibility of the Office of the Prime Minister until the reassignment of ministry portfolios in January 2020.

The Unit is responsible for coordinating the reforms on trafficking in human beings, prostitution, and cannabis. This includes:

  • consulting relevant stakeholders
  • gathering information
  • developing and monitoring agreements with service providers
  • drafting of policy proposals
  • streamlining existing structures and services
  • raise awareness among the general society on the topics

Statistics

In 2020, the Malta Police Force Vice-Squad initiated 16 investigations - 8 for sex trafficking and 8 for labour trafficking. These figures show a significant increase compared with 5 investigations in 2019 and 10 investigations in 2018.

Moreover, police and social workers identified 6 trafficking victims in 2020. Of those, 5 were victims of labour trafficking, including 2 victims of domestic servitude and a Maltese child victim of forced criminality, and 1 was a combination of both sex and labour trafficking. All foreign victims were from the Philippines, and all six were female. 

Institutional and legal framework

Legislation

All forms of trafficking in human beings are prohibited by the Criminal Code (Chapter 9). Following Malta’s commitment to the United Nations Protocol to Prevent and Combat Trafficking in Human Beings, Article 3 (titled “Trafficking in Human Beings”) was introduced in the Criminal Code in 2002. Nonetheless, trafficking in persons in Malta for the purposes of sexual exploitation was already a criminal offence under the White Slaves Traffic (Suppression) Ordinance (Chapter 63). The White Slave Traffic (Suppression) Ordinance transposed the 1904 International Agreement for the Suppression of White Slave Traffic into national law, which was subsequently amended by the Protocol approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 3 December 1948.

Following the adoption of new legislative amendments in 2013, punishment for trafficking in human beings cases range from six to twelve years of prison. In cases of trafficking for the removal of organs the sentence is imprisonment for a term of between four and twelve years. Sentences are increased by one degree where the victim is a minor. The prescribed penalties are commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes. Additionally, the crime of trafficking in persons is also dealt under the Maltese Criminal Code focusing on crimes against humanity and war crimes, and crimes against the peace and honour of families, and against morals.

Subsidiary Legislation transposing Council Directive 2004/81/EC (on the residence permit issued to third country nationals who are victims of trafficking in human beings or who have been the subject of an action to facilitate illegal immigration) was passed in 2007. This legislation provides victims of trafficking or illegal immigrants, who cooperate with the Maltese authorities, permission to reside in Malta for a period of six months (renewable). This legislation also provides a reflection period of up to two months, prior to the granting of the six-month residence permit.

With a view to further strengthen legal provisions in the area of trafficking in persons for organ removal and organ trafficking, the parliament published a new law on Human Organs, Tissues and Cells Donation Act on 16 December 2016. This Act made consequential amendments to the Criminal Code, therefore Article 248CA addresses measures related to the abuse of persons or abuse of organ harvesting for the purpose of exploitation. Article 248CA of the Criminal Code is intended to make provisions for substantive articles of the Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Organs and to ensure full compliance with the convention.

The Victims of Crime Act was also amended with a new provision. Article 14A allows a judge to appoint a specially trained expert as a support person to assist a child victim throughout the court proceedings and for a further period following its conclusion. Further amendments included the introduction of trained support persons to assist child victims throughout court proceedings and afterwards. Two new services were added to the list of minimum services for victims of crimes including victims of trafficking in human beings namely, medical treatment and protection measures against the risks of intimidation and retaliation. In July 2019, the Child Protection (Alternative Care) Act was substituted by the Minor Protection (Alternative Care) Act which covers various aspects of child protection including a review of the childcare system, protection of children during judicial procedures, the availability of children’s advocates, and issues related to foster care.

National Action Plan against trafficking in human beings (January 2020 – December 2023)

The Fifth National Action Plan on combating trafficking in human beings builds on the work undertaken in the context of previous Action Plans. In line with Malta’s EU and other international obligations, reference is also made to the submission of information to the EU Anti Trafficking Coordinator, as well as other major international stakeholders. 

The actions envisaged in the current plan seek to address the major aspects of the fight against human trafficking with a particular focus on awareness and prevention, although efforts in other spheres, including prosecution, are also pursued by the entities concerned.  A focus on awareness and prevention is considered necessary given that these measures entail the involvement of several stakeholder, as well as coordination between them. 

Coordination of anti-trafficking actions on national level

Coordination of anti-trafficking action on a national level is conducted on a two-tier mechanism. The Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Committee established by the Prime Minister in 2011, was set up to provide an overall strategic and policy orientation in the field of trafficking in human beings.

Committee members are major stakeholders in the sector. The Committee is chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for Home Affairs, National Security and Law Enforcement, and includes the Attorney General, the Commissioner of Police, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for the Family and Social Solidarity, as well as a representative of a local NGO and another from the Office of the Prime Minister.

The scope of the Committee is to monitor the implementation of commitments relating to the suppression of trafficking in human beings by the competent authorities, be this in the sphere of prevention, prosecution of offenders, or the protection of victims. Furthermore, it monitors the implementation of the National Action Plan and produces reports on the situation on trafficking in human beings in Malta. It also establishes knowledge and information exchange relationships with other State authorities and assesses operational practices and procedures for all organizations involved in the fight against trafficking in human beings.

On an operational level the Human Trafficking Stake Holders’ Task Force contributes to the implementation of the government’s National strategy in this field, discuss operational issues, liaisons among entities concerned, as well as makes proposals to the Human Rights Directorate.

National Strategy and Action Plan on trafficking in human beings

Although trafficking in human beings has gathered momentum and several international organisations have developed approaches to address it, the phenomenon remains a serious crime with grave human rights concerns.

Malta is obliged to contribute to a coordinated Union Strategy against trafficking in human beings in accordance with Article 20 of the Anti-trafficking Directive. The engagement of experts is fundamental in adequately fulfilling this responsibility since it promotes a systematic and cooperative approach to combatting this phenomenon. In this regard, the Anti-Trafficking Directive underlines the importance of providing access to transaction monitoring and other financial investigation tools to the authorities responsible for investigating and prosecuting human trafficking.

A Task Force was appointed by the Ministry for Justice, Equality and Governance to draft a National Strategy and Action Plan against trafficking in human beings.  This reform is needed to effectively address the challenges and recommendations identified by the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings-GRETA Report concerning the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against trafficking in Human beings by Malta, Third Evaluation Round (22/7/2021) and to implement EU law and other feedback received from local institutions and organisations on the subject matter.

Malta is expected to achieve its ultimate objective of designing and implementing a new national Strategy and strengthen the existing action plan, to address and deter the phenomenon of trafficking in human beings. This reform requires special attention and expertise due to its complex, urgent, and transnational nature. The Strategy should present strategic goals and specific objectives which are clearly defined both qualitatively and quantitatively and which are based on public measures and activities to be supported institutionally and financially, and which are verifiable through a detailed monitoring and assessment process.

The Strategy must also include new coordinating structures, policies, and processes to bolster Malta’s institutional and administrative capacity to effectively combat trafficking in human beings. These structures include IT systems and solutions, and the technical specifications required for their effective implementation.

This Strategy will adopt a rights-based approach with the aim of developing a sustainable system for the early identification and comprehensive support for victims. This would also seek to ensure the provision of timely and effective protection and access to justice, to provide victims with proper compensation for moral and material damages in accordance with the law.

United States Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP) 2021

In 2021, Malta has received a Tier 2 TIP rating from the United States Department of State keeping the same rating as in previous years. Whilst making recommendations in relation to further action to be taken, the report also notes that significant progress has been registered by the Maltese authorities in the sphere of human trafficking and that these initiatives were a step in the right direction.

Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA)

The government continues to discuss and act to implement the recommendations, put forward by GRETA, the group of experts responsible for the monitoring and implementation of the Council of Europe Convention against Human Trafficking. In July 2021, the Human Rights Directorate within the Ministry for Equality, Research, and Innovation sent an updated report highlighting responses of the Maltese government in relation to GRETA’s Recommendations.

At the same time the government continues to adhere with international commitments and obligations to liaise with EU and other international bodies addressing human trafficking issues, including the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator and the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA).

National Rapporteur or equivalent mechanisms

The Policy Development and Programme Implementation Directorate within the Ministry for Equality, Research and Innovation, provides information to the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator of the EU Commission and the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA).

The Coordination function of the National Rapporteur or Equivalent Mechanism (NREM) is fulfilled by the Human Rights Directorate. The Human Rights Directorate was recently entrusted to lead the government’s anti-human trafficking reform and streamline coordination with ministries, national authorities, social partners, NGOs, and other stakeholders. The Human Rights Directorate is also responsible for monitoring the implementation of the anti-human trafficking policy at national level. These functions include conducting assessments of trends in trafficking in human beings, measuring results of anti-trafficking actions, gathering statistics in close cooperation with civil society organizations active in this field, and reporting.

An Anti-Trafficking Inter-Ministerial Committee is planned to be established. It will be chaired by a Human Rights Directorate representative. The Inter-Ministerial Committee shall also assist in the drafting of the national strategy and action plan, but also, shall be responsible towards its implementation and reporting obligations that arise of it. The Inter-Ministerial Committee is action-oriented in nature and shall convene at least once every quarter.

Prevention

The Maltese authorities have adopted several measures to minimise the risk of labour exploitation. 

Prevention measures regarding labour and employment

As of 2016, third-country nationals applying for a work and residence permit (single permit) are requested to provide an employment contract signed by their employers to ensure that they are fully aware of the nature of their prospective employment conditions before entering Malta. 

Third-country nationals are allowed to change their employers and such requests are processed in a confidential manner.  Under article 40 of the Employment and Training Services Act, an employer has to notify Jobsplus within four days of an employment termination, which should, according to the authorities, make it easier for employees to change employers. 

Subsidiary legislation 452.116 on Itemised Payslip Regulations, adopted in August 2018, requires employers to issue detailed payslips to employees.  This new obligation is expected to facilitate the collection of evidence during the investigation of potential cases of labour trafficking. The Employment Agencies Regulations Law also contains provisions aimed at protecting workers recruited through employment agencies. In fact, article 10 prohibits employment agencies from charging fees to employees or making any deductions from their wages.  The law also provides for inspection of employment agencies by the Department for Industrial and Employment Relations (DIER) which may lead to withdrawal of an agency’s operating licence and the imposition of a fine. 

Malta has also adopted a new procedure for the inspection of illegally staying and illegally employed third-country nationals through Legal Notice 112 which came into force on 4 June 2019.  By virtue of this Legal Notice, a new reporting unit was set up within Identity Malta Agency with a view to inspecting the illegally staying and illegally employed third-country nationals.  Jobsplus and DIER staff continue to receive training periodically about the subject of Trafficking in Human Beings.

Prevention measures to protect children

With regards to the prevention of child trafficking, APOGG agency operates an online reporting system which receives online reports related with child sexual abuse material and handles calls received through a state-run helpline related to the same topic. 

The Maltese authorities have conducted several awareness raising activities as part of the national education campaign (Human Like You) launched in 2019 including drama performances for secondary school students and a book adopted for primary school pupils which features the story of a number of fairy-tale characters who experience different ordeals, including deceit and exploitation.  Furthermore, subsidiary legislation 420.07 foresees special guarantees for unaccompanied children, such as the assignment of legal guardians having knowledge of the special needs of children to represent and assist them during asylum procedures. 

Regulations and guidelines for private contractors providing services to government

In accordance with article 192 of Subsidiary Legislation 601.03 on Public Procurement Regulations, any authority responsible for the tendering process shall exclude any economic operator from participation in a procurement procedure where it has been established or is otherwise made aware that such an economic operator has been the subject of a conviction by final judgment for reasons concerning child labour and other forms of trafficking in human beings as defined in article 2 of Directive 2011/26/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council, or an equivalent offence under Maltese law or as defined in the national law of the economic operator.  

The government issued guidelines to ensure that any private operator contracted to provide services to the government is in line with relevant legislation relating to employment conditions. Operators who would not comply, would lose their contract with the entity or department concerned.

Trainings

In previous years the Ministry for Home Affairs, National Security and Law Enforcement has engaged the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Malta to provide its expertise in knowledge and guidance to build capacity of Maltese stakeholders working in the field, and who are more likely to encounter a victim or potential victim of human trafficking in their day-to-day work responsibilities. 

Police officers receive training on trafficking in human beings as part of the three month induction course for new recruits and the annual two week in-service training.  In January 2019, a five day training activity on trafficking in human beings was also provided by the International Centre for Parliamentary Studies.  The training brought together officials from the Vice Squad, the Police Immigration Office, the Apogg agency, the DIER, Identity Malta, Jobsplus, the Office of the Attorney General, primary health service as well as representatives of NGO’s. 

Training for ambassadors, diplomats and consuls

In addition, another training event was dedicated to 150 ambassadors, diplomats and consuls working in the Maltese Foreign Representations. They were briefed about what is human trafficking among other matters and also about their role in the prevention of the phenomenon.

As a follow up to this session, brochures were disseminated in various foreign Representations. These were translated into different languages. They featured information about regular work and work conditions in Malta and indicators of human trafficking. Police and Appogg agency helpline numbers were also indicated in the brochure. This flyer was drawn up by IOM in consultation with the stakeholders and MHAS and is aimed at providing information to third country nationals who wish to come to Malta to work. This will be in part implementing projected measures regarding awareness raising. The project was funded through national government funds.

Awareness raising

With the aim of fostering awareness amongst persons vulnerable to human trafficking as well as the general public, a TV spot relating to human trafficking was produced and aired on the national TVM channel. The spot was shown every day for a period of three months at prime time before the main news programme. The awareness spot is aimed to encourage members of the public, as well as the victims themselves, to report any suspicious activity.

Although no cases of child trafficking have been identified thus far, one cannot afford to be complacent as trends observed in Europe tend to manifest themselves in Malta sooner or later. Therefore, training on child trafficking was held for about 100 front line stakeholders and was delivered by the London based NSPCC Child Trafficking Advice Centre, a charity specializing in child trafficking supported by government funding and human resources. This training was aimed at professionals who work with children in different settings, for example social care, education, health, immigration, law enforcement, youth justice and non-statuary agencies. An expert from the UK Crime Agency and an Immigration Official from the Home Office in London delivered a session purposely dedicated for police officers from Immigration and Victim Support unit and the Vice Squad. At the same time, victim identification guidelines were reviewed so as to ensure that they continue to reflect the reality on the ground.

In addition, the Human Rights Directorate has an ongoing campaign entitled Human Like You intended to raise awareness and educate people on different forms of human trafficking in Malta. The media campaign features real-life stories of people who fell victims to this heinous crime. The campaign is in line with other international campaigns such as the Blue Heart campaign of the United Nations.

Victim identification

The fight against human trafficking is by no means an easy one. Victims are often reluctant to speak, as they are intimidated by their traffickers. Therefore, identification of victims of human trafficking remains one of the major challenges posed by this crime. Because of this, the government has taken action to ensure that efforts for victim identification are properly coordinated and given due priority by relevant stakeholders working in this area. Therefore, training also sought to enhance existing contacts, as well as to establish new ones, between several public authorities, as well as to ensure adequate and reliable networking between different authorities for the provision of assistance to people who are exposed or vulnerable to human trafficking activity.

The government draws up and implements its national strategy, which would provide for policies and practices to address the above challenges.  The organisation and implementation of the multidisciplinary coalition between stakeholders working together to address this crime require adequate funding which is another challenge in itself. Nevertheless, measures addressing the three key areas of human trafficking, namely the prevention of trafficking, the prosecution of traffickers and protection of trafficking victims, shall be strengthened and enhanced.

Handbook for Professionals

Additionally, IOM Malta together with IOM Belgium and Geneva drafted and published a booklet which contains necessary information on human trafficking, reference to Maltese laws as well as the Standard Operating Procedures for victim referral. This publication serves as a support tool for professionals and service providers who may encounter possible victims of trafficking in human beings since it also contains a printout of the Standard Operating Procedures on Identification and Referral of (potential) Victims of Trafficking. The booklets are being widely disseminated with as many relevant stakeholders as possible.

National Referral Mechanism

Currently there is a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Malta Police and Appogg Agency (Malta’s social welfare agency) which provides support for possible victims of trafficking. By means of this MOU, the agency provides all the assistance required to keep the persons concerned safe and secure and refers them to relevant support services, if necessary. Services provided by Appogg are accessible to both nationals and non-nationals.

One of the challenges is the placing of data on the same electronic platform, since law enforcement authorities and social agencies have sensitive and personal data which they may not be able to make available to each other.

Nevertheless, the Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Committee is responsible to receive data from the main stakeholders, that is Appogg, the Police, and NGOs, and to maintain a central data base.

The Human Rights Directorate is also responsible to share and report data to any internal as well as external entities requiring national data in this field.

Training for border officials and civilian immigration officers

In November 2016, as part of the implementation of the National Action Plan 2015-2016 the Ministry for Home Affairs and National Security together with IOM Malta and Brussels organised a two day training event for police officials from immigration, vice squad and Rapid Intervention Unit as well as for APPOGG officials, Asylum Determination Officers and workers at the Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers participated in this training.

The expenses of the project were covered by the Ministry for Home Affairs under the National Security and Law Enforcement budget for human trafficking action. Besides the foreign speakers, an official from the Ministry for Home Affairs, National Security and Law Enforcement, a Police official, the Head of the Jesuit Refugee Service, a lawyer from an NGO and an official from European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) gave their input during this training programme. The purpose of this training was to increase the ability of this specific target group to recognize signs of trafficking and to be able to link them to indicators of trafficking. The training also aimed at indirectly enforcing and strengthening the functioning of the Standard Operating Procedures developed with the support of IOM and adopted by the Maltese government by raising awareness among relevant stakeholders on the procedures which should be followed.

Training on child trafficking

The Ministry for Home Affairs and National Security, in line with previous National Action Plan against trafficking in human beings, organised training for all front-line stakeholders as well as police officers who investigate and prosecute cases of human trafficking, including prosecutors from the Office of the Attorney General.

Two separate sessions were held for two groups of participants among others coming from APPOGG Agency (various units including child protection) Jobsplus, Department for Industrial Relations and Employment, Identity Malta, Prosecutors from the Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Commissioner for Children, the Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers, the Salesians Youth Service, Health Transcultural Nursing Services, Community Mental Health Services, and Court Services. A special training session was attended by Immigration and Airport Police, Vice Squad and Economic Crime Unit Police as well as police officials and a youth worker from the Police Victim Support Unit.

The training was delivered by accredited child protection trainers from the NSPCC Child Trafficking Advice Centre (CTAC) UK (the longest standing Charity in the UK dealing with child trafficking), in collaboration with the UK’s National Crime Agency. CTAC is a multi-agency team with social workers, a seconded officer from the NCA and an Immigration Officer from the UK Home Office. The National Crime agency’s role is to protect the public by disrupting and bringing to justice those serious and organized criminals who present the highest risk to the UK.

Investigation and prosecution

Vice Squad within the Malta Police Force

Within the Malta Police Force, trafficking in human beings falls under the responsibility of the Vice Squad. The Vice Squad is also responsible for:

  • investigation and prosecuting cases of sexual violence
  • domestic violence
  • child abuse
  • curbing of prostitution
  • missing persons
  • illegal gambling
  • clandestine lotto
  • paedophilia on the internet 

With the aim to enhance capacity building in this regard, Police Vice Squad officials are specialist in dealing with cases of human trafficking and should therefore enhance capabilities in the identification of cases, in accordance with the objectives of the current Action Plan.

Victim Support Unit

In 2017, the Malta Police Force established the Victim Support Unit, which provides a single point of contact for victims of crime, especially the most vulnerable. The Unit helps to minimise the adverse emotional and psychological stresses of the victims of the crime. The services offered include crisis counselling, information about victims’ rights and referrals to other government and non-government agencies for ongoing support.

Appogg Agency

The Foundation for Social Welfare Services has appointed a liaison officer responsible for matters relating to human trafficking, who liaises with the Malta Police Force and other entities on pertinent cases. The Officer also liaises with other professionals within the social welfare agency, particularly with regard to the identification, assessment and support to victims of trafficking.

Training for judiciary and prosecutors

IOM Malta, together with the Irish Embassy in Malta, entered into an agreement for a project aimed at addressing the problem of human trafficking titled: Improve Quality of Prosecution and Protection of Victims of Trafficking through the Justice System in the Republic of Malta. The Irish government funded the project.

The project was spread over six months during which a research was undertaken on local judicial sentences regarding trafficking in human beings. The findings and analysis were debated in a two-day seminar to which all members of the judiciary and members of the Attorney General’s office and prosecuting police attended. The training was moderated by IOM Malta.

Among other topics of discussion, were also the challenges and responses to trafficking in human beings, including gaps in the Maltese Legislation, vulnerabilities of victims and case law dealing with the elements to identify the EU legal dimension in this field.

Protection

Assistance and support provided to victims

The government has standard operating procedures for victim identification that allows a range of entities to refer victims to the government’s social welfare agency. The government also provides legal protection and temporary residence permits to support victims who cooperate with the law enforcement authorities. The national welfare agency offers referral to medical care, employment services, counselling, psycho-social support, and additional emergency shelters and staff.

In one large case, the police and national welfare agency joined coordination efforts during a forced labour investigation in order to prepare for a large number of victim referrals. The agency leased additional apartments on a three-year basis to temporarily shelter these victims and to build shelter capacity for future victims.

Residence permits

Victims of trafficking are offered a two-month reflection period during which they may decide whether to cooperate with the Maltese authorities in relation to criminal proceedings. Victims of trafficking who cooperate with the Maltese authorities are granted temporary residence permits valid for a period of six months. The temporary residence permit may be renewed if required in accordance with the Permission to Reside for Victims of trafficking or Illegal Immigration who Cooperate with the Maltese Authorities Regulations. On a case-by-case basis, the Maltese authorities can offer legal alternatives to the removal of identified foreign trafficking victims to countries where they may face hardship or retribution.

A victim of trafficking may also benefit from the Witness Protection Programme as established by Article 75 of the Police Act. This programme may be utilised by any victim of trafficking in persons who accepts and “declares that they will testify during any trial of any participant in the crime and any benefit granted shall be forfeited if the witness refuses to testify”. Benefits within the programme include the resettlement of victims in other countries under the protection of a new identity, protection of the life and property of a witness and their family, and payment of a subsistence allowance. The final decision ultimately rests with the Attorney General, who decides whether such a person will be admitted to the Witness Protection Programme, as requested by the Police Commissioner.

Special protective measures for children

The Permission to Reside for Victims of trafficking or Illegal Immigration who Cooperate with the Maltese Authorities Regulations provide that victims of trafficking or of an action to facilitate illegal immigration who are either children or young persons in need of care will be assisted in terms of the Children and Young Persons Act (Chapter 258).

In accordance with the Criminal Code (Chapter 9), when the victim is a minor, the offence does not need to involve the use of violence or threats, deceit or fraud, misuse of authority, influence or pressure, or the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of the person in order for the offence to exist. If these means are used, they constitute an aggravation, and the punishment is increased by one degree.

Collaborations

All Equal EU Funded Project - Foundation for Social Welfare Services (FSWS)

The Directorate works closely with other Ministries and entities on various levels. Similarly, the Unit is participating in the project All Equal: Supporting Victims of Human Trafficking funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (2014-2020) and being implemented by Apogg agency within the Foundation for Social Welfare Services (FSWS). The aim of the project is to provide support to TCNs who are victims of human trafficking by promoting and safeguarding their psychological well-being and empowering them to re-gain control and lead independent lives. The Malta Police Force and the Ministry for Home Affairs, National Security and Law Enforcement are the official partners of the project.

As part of the project deliverables, a series of roundtables are being organised to which the Human Rights Initiatives Unit contributes. During these meetings relevant stakeholders discuss ways in which they can collaborate further between them in order to ensure the maximum protection and support to victims of trafficking.

Commission on Gender-Based Violence and Domestic Violence (CDV) - Guidelines for Multiagency for the Protection and Support of Victims of Human Trafficking

The Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO) strongly encourages the Maltese authorities to set up institutionalised structures for coordination and cooperation. These structures include different governmental and non-governmental agencies and service providers to ensure multi-agency cooperation based on a gendered understanding of violence against women and domestic violence.

Such structures for coordination and cooperation address all forms of violence against women, beyond domestic violence. This includes guidelines and cooperation procedures for authorities dealing with violence against women, as well as a system for sharing expertise and experience in handling such cases. GREVIO strongly encourages the inclusion of specialists on women support services run by NGOs in any formal and informal cooperation structures.

The Commission for Gender-Based Violence and Domestic Violence and the Human Rights Initiatives Unit joined forces to formalise guidelines on trafficking in human beings and identify ways through which the two can assist one another on addressing GREVIO’s recommendation for formalised multiagency guidelines for all forms of violence against women.

Stakeholders

Governmental

  • Ministry for Home Affairs, National Security and Law Enforcement (MHSE)
    • Malta Police Force
    • Identity Malta Agency
    • Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers
  • Ministry for Health (MFH)
  • Ministry for the National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government (MHAL)
  • Ministry for Justice and Governance (MFJG)
    • Courts of Justice
    • Attorney General’s Office
    • Legal Aid Agency
  • Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs (MFEA)
  • Ministry for Social Justice and Solidarity, the Family and Children’s Right (MSFC)
    • Foundation for Social Welfare Services (FSWS)
      • Agenzija Appogg
  • Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister (MSD)
    • Department for Industrial and Employment Relations (DIER)
  • Ministry for Finance and Employment
    • Jobsplus
  • Ministry for Equality, Research and Innovation (MFER)
    • Commission on Gender-Based Violence & Domestic Violence (CVD)
  • National Statistics Office

Non-governmental

  • Jesuit Refugee Services Malta (JRS)
  • Caritas Malta
  • Aditus

Resources

Laws and policies

  • The Criminal Code, Chapter 9 of the Laws of Malta
  • Victims of Crime Act, Chapter 539 of the Laws of Malta
  • The White Slaves Traffic (Suppression) Ordinance, Chapter 63 of the Laws of Malta
  • The Employment and Industrial Relations Act, Chapter 452 of the Laws of Malta
  • Human Organs, Tissues and Cell Donation Act, Chapter 558 of the Laws of Malta
  • The Children and Young Persons (Care Order) Act, Chapter 258
  • Minor Protection (Alternative Care) of 2019, Chapter 602 of the Laws of Malta
  • Permission to Reside for victims of Trafficking or Illegal Immigration who co-operate with the Maltese Authorities Regulations, Subsidiary Legislation 217.07
  • Minimum Standards on Sanctions and Measures against Employers of Illegally Staying Third-Country Nationals Regulations, Subsidiary Legislation 217.14 
  • Young Persons (Employment) Regulations, Subsidiary Legislation 452.92
  • Legal Aid Agency (Establishment) Order, Subsidiary Legislation 595.11
  • Legal Notice 418 of 2020, Victim Support Agency (Establishment) Order, 2020

Legal Notice 205 of 2009, Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers Regulations, 2009

Contact details

Ministry for Equality, Research and Innovation

Policy Development and Programme Implementation

Director: Dr. Sandra Hili Vassallo

Telephone: + 356 209 598 62

Email: sandra.hili-vassallo.1@gov.mt

 

Human Rights Directorate
Ministry for Equality, Research and Innovation

A3 Towers, Level 0, Triq l-Arkata, Paola, PLA 1211
Telephone:  +356 2226 3210  

Email: humanrightsinitiatives@gov.mt   

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