Answer given by Ms Malmström on behalf of the Commission
In the recently adopted EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings 2012-2016 the European Commission prioritises, inter alia, the identification, protection and assistance to victims of trafficking. It acknowledges that the identification of victims is difficult but underlines its importance, and further outlines a set of concrete measures for their better identification.
Specifically, by the end of 2012, the Commission will develop guidelines for border guards and consular services on victims' identification. The Commission is also funding a project for the development of guidelines to better identify victims. These guidelines will facilitate a more harmonised approach and will improve identification and should assist practitioners.
The strategy underlines that Member States should ensure that formal, functional national referral mechanisms are established(1). These mechanisms should describe procedures to better identify, refer, protect and assist victims and include all relevant public authorities and civil society. In this respect, by 2015 the Commission aims to develop a model for an EU Transnational Referral Mechanism which links national referral mechanisms to better identify, refer, protect and assist victims.
The links between irregular migration and trafficking in human beings have been addressed within the framework of the Action Oriented Paper on strengthening the EU external dimension against trafficking in human beings and the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility, whereby one of the priorities is to prevent and reduce irregular migration and trafficking in human beings, in order to decrease people's vulnerability.