How do EU countries identify victims of trafficking in asylum and forced return procedures

The European Migration Network (EMN) just published an interesting study on « Identification of Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings in International Protection and Forced Return Procedures. » The Study represents a synthesis of findings presented in 24 countries from the EU. It concerns both applicants for international protection (asylum-seekers) and ‘failed’ applicants in forced return procedures who have received a (final) negative decision, or have abandoned the procedure.

In the EU
In the EU, many countries recognise that asylum-seekers may have faced different forms of persecution and exploitation (including trafficking) but only half of the reporting (Member) States proactively ‘screen’ either all applicants or applicants with specific profiles – e.g. women from specific countries, men / women in prostitution, unaccompanied minors (BE, IT, NO) for indications of trafficking. Where proactive screening is not undertaken during the international protection procedure, the assessment of facts during the international protection procedures may give the opportunity opportunity to detect victims of trafficking. But the information relies on both the victims providing the right amount and type of evidence to facilitate detection and on the authorities being adequately trained to recognize reported exploitation as trafficking. However, as compared to international protection procedures, third-country nationals in forced return procedures are much less likely to be proactively screened for indications of trafficking. The study proposes ways to protect persons who may be further abused after deportation.

The report can be downloaded here:

The Swiss screening?
In the Swiss asylum procedure there is no specific predefined screening of victims of trafficking. At the international airport in Geneva for example, where a full asylum procedure takes place, the identification of a victim is the result of a mutual cooperation between, legal counsellors (from ELISA-Asile:, the church volunteers (, the police and the Federal office of migration.

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