Statement on the occasion of the EU Anti-Trafficking Day

On the occasion of the EU Anti-Trafficking Day, today October 18th, the CBSS Director General, Grzegorz Poznanski, would like to draw the attention to how victims of human trafficking are affected by the
COVID-19 crisis in the following statement:

“COVID-19 has affected lives of people all around the world, but today, on the occasion of the European Union Anti-Trafficking Day, I call CBSS Member States to recognise the heightened risks of the pandemic to one of the most vulnerable group of our societies – victims of human trafficking. Today the attention of governments and societies have shifted to limit the spread of the pandemic and fight its economic and social consequences. But most vulnerable people – such victims of human trafficking – should not be left behind. Increased rates of unemployment, hindered access to assistance, increasing risks of abuse, budget cuts are exposing a large number of people to exploitation and human trafficking.

I encourage our Member States to strengthen prevention efforts targeting not only general society but also main groups at risk. Prevention could be the most effective measure in times when victim identification is delayed, and access to services is limited.

The Council of the Baltic Sea States will support organisations in their efforts to cope and recover from the crisis, to ensure exit pathways from human trafficking and guarantee access to services for all victims of human trafficking.  

In this challenging time, we need to show solidarity to the most vulnerable so that we can come out of the crisis more assertive, resilient, compassionate and determined to fight exploitation.”

Read more about CBSS’s Task Force against Trafficking in Human Beings here.