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First GRETA report on Belgium

The Belgian authorities have taken a number of important steps to prevent and combat trafficking in human beings, such as putting in place a comprehensive legal and policy framework and setting up specialised anti-trafficking structures, but several challenges remain, according to a report published today by the Council of Europe’s expert group on human trafficking, GRETA

GRETA welcomes in its report the multidisciplinary approach to the identification and referral of victims of human trafficking in Belgium. However, GRETA considers that the Belgian authorities should pay increased attention to trafficking in children, particularly those exploited for the purpose of forced begging or committing of offences. In order to improve the identification of victims of trafficking, the Belgian authorities should step up the training provided to all front-line actors.

The provision of assistance to trafficking victims is entrusted to specialised NGOs working in close co-operation with the authorities. GRETA asks the authorities to ensure that the assistance is adapted to the victims' needs, paying special attention to child victims and victims who are Belgian and EU citizens. Further, GRETA considers that more should be done to ensure that child victims of trafficking are granted a residence permit on the basis of their best interests and not of their willingness or ability to co-operate with the authorities. GRETA also urges the Belgian authorities to put in place repatriation assistance arrangements for victims of trafficking who are EU citizens. 

In its report, GRETA welcomes the determination demonstrated by the Belgian authorities to carry out proactive investigations and prosecute acts of trafficking both for the purpose of sexual exploitation and labour exploitation. However, adjustments are still required to facilitate and guarantee access to compensation for trafficking victims. 

On the basis of GRETA’s report, the Committee of the Parties to the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings will consider adopting recommendations addressed to the Government of Belgium. 

Link to the report 

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