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On 19 December 2022, the European Commission put forward a proposal for the targeted revision of Directive 2011/36/EU – the main EU instrument to combat trafficking in human beings and to protect its victims. Despite progress achieved in fighting this crime, the Commission reports that, on average, over 7 000 people per year fall victim to human trafficking in the EU. Forms of exploitation have evolved and adapted to the new environment. For instance, new technologies are used to recruit victims. ...

Violence directed against a woman because she is a woman, or that affects women disproportionately ('gender-based violence against women') is a violation of fundamental rights, and a major obstacle to gender equality in all EU Member States. Despite increased attention, national legislation does not offer equal protection for women against all forms of gender-based violence across the EU, and there are significant gaps in the measures adopted at EU level. On 8 March 2022, the European Commission ...

The confiscation of criminals' illicit profits is considered an effective tool in the fight against organised crime, identified as a major threat to EU security. However, despite the comprehensive set of EU rules on asset freezing and confiscation, there are still obstacles on the path to recovering criminal assets, as shown by the European Commission's June 2020 evaluation of the 2014 directive on freezing and confiscation of instrumentalities and proceeds of crime and the 2007 Council decision ...

In November 2023, the Commission proposed a directive to modernise and strengthen the legal framework on the fight against migrant smuggling. The proposal addresses the steady rise in irregular arrivals in the EU and the rise in smuggling on all main EU entry routes. The current directive defining the offence of facilitation of unauthorised entry, transit and residence in the EU, and the framework decision on strengthening of the penal framework have both been widely criticised for their failure ...

In July 2021, the European Commission tabled a proposal to establish a new EU authority to counter money laundering and the financing of terrorism (AMLA). This was part of a legislative package aimed at implementing the 2020 action plan for a comprehensive Union policy on preventing money laundering and the financing of terrorism. The AMLA would be the centre of an integrated system, composed of the authority itself and national authorities with an AML/CFT supervisory mandate. It would also support ...

In November 2023, the European Commission presented a proposal to reinforce the role of Europol, the EU Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, in the fight against migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings. With detections of irregular border crossings at the EU's external borders at their highest levels since 2016 and demand for migration facilitation services following suit, the Commission sees an urgent need to step up the prevention, detection and investigation of these crimes. Europol's ...

Victims of terrorism: EU response

At a Glance 08-03-2024

On 11 March, Europe honours all those who have lost their lives or loved ones to terror. The European Day of Remembrance of Victims of Terrorism was inaugurated after the 2004 Madrid bombings. Protecting victims of terrorism is an essential part of the EU's efforts to address all dimensions of the terrorist threat. In response to the attacks that have hit Europe over the past two decades, the EU has strengthened its rules and sanctions relating to terrorist activities. Ongoing EU action seeks to ...

In September 2021, the Commission launched a REFIT initiative to assess the implementation of Directive 2011/93/EU on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, with a view to revising it. This appraisal takes stock of reports published by the Commission, positions adopted and analyses submitted by EU institutions and agencies, and the relevant European Court of Human Rights case law. The directive requires the EU Member States to criminalise a series of ...

Cyber solidarity act

Briefing 13-02-2024

Russia's war against Ukraine has revealed the extent of our dependency on digital technology and the fragility of the digital space. It has triggered a surge in cyberattacks that have been particularly disruptive when targeting critical infrastructure – such as energy, health or finance – because of the increasing reliance on information technology, rendering this infrastructure all the more vulnerable. Against this backdrop, the Commission has proposed a regulation on a cyber solidarity act that ...

In December 2021, the European Commission proposed a revision of Directive 2008/99/EC on the protection of the environment through criminal law. The proposal seeks to clarify some of the terms contained in the directive and includes an updated list of environmental crime offences, harmonised sanction types and levels, measures to strengthen international investigation and prosecution, improvements to the collection of statistical data, and measures to improve national enforcement chains. Ultimately ...