For us the question of human dignity is always the leading question in addressing policy and practice – be it in refugee protection or anti trafficking work. Our biggest concern is the wellbeing of the most vulnerable. It is clear that the intersection of asking for asylum and trafficking is particularly important in this respect. In our membership there are many organisations addressing either one or both of the issues, so it is for us important and welcome to take a closer look at the issue.
Some of the challenges are already known, others are new. The issue of taking the circumstances of trafficked persons into consideration when assessing the credibility of an applicant is for example a standard demand for a while. Similarly, anti-trafficking organisations have been asking for pro-active investigation and identification for example in the case of presumed minors – and the project has shown that this is indeed needed as trafficked persons might be forced to declare that they are adults….so a proactive approach for identification is also needed in the asylum interview. A newly discovered challenge is that in several countries launching an asylum application seems to exclude the trafficked person from being formally identified and to benefit from tailored services as a victim of trafficking – something needing closer examination and follow up. Unfortunately some assumptions have been confirmed regarding the Dublin system, in particular that victims of trafficking tend to be sent back to the responsible Member State in which they have been trafficking which leave them highly vulnerable and at risk of revictimisation.
Certainly, yes. On the one hand we have learnt that the existing provisions for the protection of vulnerable groups in the asylum procedure are not adequately translated in national practice. We need to insist on better national implementation. In addition, as you will be aware the Dublin regulation as well as the Common European asylum system are currently being renegotiated again. We will feed in the results of the project in our advocacy with the European Parliament, the member States and the European Commission. We are aware that the general atmosphere is not too favourable. However, there always is a general outcry against trafficking in EU discussions – we should therefore hold policy makers accountable that trafficked persons are adequately protected, also in asylum legislation.