Belgium marks the International Day against Human Trafficking

July 30 marks the International Day against Human Trafficking, a global phenomenon that concerns every country in the world, including Belgium. Human trafficking can take many forms, such as sexual or economic exploitation, and even involve the sale of organs. However, it always bereaves victims of their human dignity and places them in unbearable, humiliating and degrading situations.

The latest UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Human Beings attests that the Covid-19 pandemic situation has increased inequalities within our societies, leaving millions of women, men and children more vulnerable to criminal organisations that profit from trafficking. The Global report also states that one in three victims is a child.

A pioneering role

As from 1995, Belgium has adopted legislation to combat trafficking in human beings. A multidisciplinary and integrated approach, based on 4 P's - prevention, prosecution, protection and partnership - involves specialised actors such as the police, labour inspectors, prosecutors, specialised shelters for victims and immigration services.

Belgium also contributes to the UN Fund for Victims of Trafficking (EUR 2,000,000). This fund supports efforts by specialised NGOs around the world to identify victims of trafficking and provide them with dignified care and protection. As well as physical, psychological and social support, necessary for their recovery and reintegration.

Belgium supports the Blue Heart campaign

Belgium became a signatory to the Blue Heart Campaign in 2019, to reiterate its commitment to continue the fight against human trafficking and to give victims a better future. The Blue Heart symbolises the desperation of trafficked people and reminds us of the cruelty of those who buy and sell other human beings. The use of the UN blue colour highlights that human trafficking is a global threat and requires a multilateral and collective response. The "Belgian Friends of the Blue Heart" initiative allows any well-known personality in Belgium (influencer, artist, chocolatier, sportsman...) and every citizen to participate in the awareness campaign.

The International Day against human trafficking is an opportunity to raise awareness among both the international community and the general public about the collective responsibility in the fight against human trafficking and impunity. Trafficking in persons happens all around us. Every citizens, can have an impact in this fight.

In this respect, several Belgian cities will commemorate the International Day and light up their town halls in blue, in solidarity with the victims. The Egmont Palace in Brussels will also light up in blue, an initiative of the FPS Foreign Affairs. The Belgian embassies and consulates around the world will also join the Blue Heart campaign.