On 3-4 November 2016, Europol hosted an expert meeting on trafficking in human beings for the purpose of labour exploitation with the participation of police officers, labour and social inspectors and NGOs from 26 countries.
The demand for cheap labour in particular in competitive EU markets is considered as a prominent driving force behind trafficking for labour exploitation. Europol considers the multi-disciplinary approach as crucial in addressing this form of crime and engages, within its mandate, with relevant stakeholders. This meeting was the first occasion when Europol invited labour and social inspectors to discuss with police officers, on an operational level, how to improve the identification of victims of labour exploitation and the detection of the human trafficking networks involved.
The meeting looked into new modi operandi with special focus on criminal structures operating in high-risk sectors as well as the objectives and benefits of the multi-disciplinary and administrative approach. It was a platform to promote the cooperation between the law enforcement and labour inspectors, on both national and international level, with a view of planning future Joint Action Days.
There are more and more examples of successful cooperation in combating this crime between member states, and it is expected that with initiatives such as the Joint Action Days, actively seeking to improve the response by law enforcement in the EU to labour exploitation, the number of successful convictions will increase.
The meeting contributed to the building-up of new operational capacities and new forms of cooperation aimed at identifying victims of labour exploitation and dismantling organised crime groups behind this horrendous crime on the EU level.