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Policy Brief

10 Years After the Directive 2011/36/EU

Lights and shadows in addressing the vulnerability of trafficked and exploited migrants

The EU’s anti-trafficking Directive adopted a holistic, human rights sensitive approach but it has not been sufficiently implemented in all member states’ legislation. This Policy Brief reviews the challenges and gaps in its implementation, such as the lack of adequate assistance and protection for victims of trafficking and missing identification systems.
10 Years After the  Directive 2011/36/EU

Key Messages

  1. Several EU countries do not apply the ‘reflection period’ and/or do not have a formal National Referral Mechanism (NRM) in place to identify and assist victims and support their full social inclusion.
  2. Assistance is nearly always dependent on victims’ cooperation with the authorities, in contrast with the principle of unconditional assistance.
  3. The non-punishment principle is not implemented or not implemented correctly. Also, trafficked persons are not addressed adequately regarding their vulnerabilities and their gender-related needs.
  4. Anti-trafficking institutions and organisations do not receive sufficient resources, and, in many countries, political and legal anti-trafficking measures tend to focus mainly on criminalisation and to conflate with restrictive migration policies, increasing persons’ vulnerability to exploitation.
  5. Many EU member states lack National Rapporteurs or fully independent equivalent mechanisms.

Additional Information

Authors of Original Article


Marchetti, S., and Palumbo, L. (2022). 10 Years After the Directive 2011/36/EU: Lights and shadows in addressing the vulnerability of trafficked and exploited migrants. Population & Policy Compact 33, Berlin: Max Planck Society/Population Europe.