Malta’s national anti-trafficking action plan with strengthen the protection for trafficking victims

aditus welcomes today’s publication by the Ministry for Justice & Home Affairs of the Malta Action Plan on Combating Trafficking in Persons.  This is a significant step towards increasing national attention and action to what the United Nations describes as a ‘global threat’.  Malta’s ratification of the so-called Palermo Protocol in 2003 indicated its willingness to engage in concerted efforts to deal with human trafficking.  The Protocol highlights the criminal nature of trafficking activities whilst upholding and protecting the fundamental human rights of their victims, often in a state of extreme physical or psychological vulnerability.

The Action Plan’s focus on the prevention of trafficking, prosecution of perpetrators and protection of victims is in accordance with relevant international standards and best practices.  aditus particularly welcomes those activities targeting public awareness and education as a core tool in the identification and empowerment of victims of trafficking.  The inclusive approach adopted in the Action Plan is also strongly commended insofar as it ensures the active participation of agencies with expertise in the provision of social, physical and psychological support to the victims.

aditus Chairperson Dr. Neil Falzon comments: “There is the need at levels to understand the nexus between human smuggling and human trafficking, particularly in the context of the arrivals by boat.  Our experience tells us that human traffickers often exploit the routes used by refugees to send their victims to their intended destination, where they will be exploited as sex labourers or other forms of undignified treatment.”  In view of this nexus, aditus strongly recommends the active involvement in the Action Plan of all stakeholders, governmental and non-governmental, actively involved with migrants and asylum-seekers.

In welcoming the Action Plan, aditus is confident that its activities will also lead to the development of long-term measures that secure the legal and physical protection of identified victims.