The Foundation is working to engage parliamentarians across Europe to help raise human trafficking up the political agenda.
To do this HTF is organising workshops throughout Europe, bringing together interested parliamentarians, to consider establishing a Parliamentary sub-committee on human trafficking and legislation similar to the Modern Slavery Act.
In September 2016, the Foundation hosted a workshop on human trafficking, working in collaboration with Prof. Angel Tilvar MP, who established and coordinates the Parliamentary Group fighting human trafficking, and Florin Lordache, the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of Romania. This first workshop brought Members of Parliament together from Romania, Serbia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Moldova and UK, and began the creation of a regional network.
Following presentations from Foundation trustees on the establishment and functioning of the APPG on human trafficking and modern slavery, and by Romanian delegates on the creation of their human trafficking subcommittee, the delegates from Serbia, Bulgaria and Hungary agreed to adopt this approach – agreeing that this was critical to ensure an enduring parliamentary focus on the problem.
Since this workshop: Hungarian parliamentarians have indicated that the Vice Chairs of the Legislation committee have met several times and are working together to coordinate creating a subcommittee on human trafficking; the Chair of Internal Security and Public Order Committee in Bulgaria has started to explore how best to raise human trafficking up the parliamentary agenda by various means including the creation of a subcommittee within the internal affairs committee; and the Chair of the Serbian Human Rights committee is planning to create a trafficking subcommittee off his Committee in 2017.
Following the success of the Bucharest workshop, a second event was hosted by the Serbian parliament with parliamentarians from Romania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and the UK. There were also representatives from a number of local NGOs as well as the UNODC.
The countries in attendance agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding and create a proposal to become members of an anti-trafficking Western Balkan network.
They also agreed to examine how they could set about creating a human trafficking subcommittee with help of the Human Trafficking Foundation. The Serbian Committee on Human Rights has also invited the attendees to meet again as part of their network later in 2017.
In September 2017 the Foundation hosted a third workshop in the Italian parliament, bringing together parliamentarians from Albania, Kosovo, Romania,Slovenia, Spain, UK and Italy, as well as experts from the Council of Europe's Group of Experts on trafficking.
Once again there was broad agreement amongst all in attendance of the essential role which parliamentarians have to play in driving an improved response to tackling human trafficking and modern slavery, both domestically and through international collaboration.