The Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) has published today its second evaluation report on Belgium. The report assesses developments since the publication of GRETA’s first evaluation report on Belgium in September 2013 as regards the implementation of the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.
According to the report, progress has been made in a number of areas, such as further developing the legal and institutional framework for combating human trafficking, adopting a new national anti-trafficking action plan and providing training to a range of professionals, including those working with unaccompanied foreign children. GRETA also commends the criminal justice response to human trafficking in Belgium, which has resulted in a considerable number of convictions accompanied by confiscations of perpetrators' assets. Further, there have been cases of legal entities sanctioned for human trafficking offences.
However, there are certain areas which require improvement, according to the report. The number of children identified as victims of trafficking has been low (13 in the period 2013-2015). GRETA urges the Belgian authorities to enhance their efforts to proactively identify child victims of trafficking and to address the problem of unaccompanied children disappearing by providing suitable safe accommodation and appointing legal guardians and adequately trained supervisors or foster parents.
Further, GRETA urges the Belgian authorities to secure adequate funding for the specialised reception centres for victims of trafficking in order to ensure their unhindered operation and the provision of assistance measures.
GRETA also calls on the Belgian authorities to discontinue the practice of face-to-face examination of victims and suspected traffickers in court and to adopt alternative procedures which avoid direct contact, such as video conferences.