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Experts Group on Trafficking in Human Beings

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Experts Group on Trafficking in Human Beings

This Decision sets up a group of experts to provide the European Commission with expertise in preventing and fighting trafficking in human beings.


Commission Decision 2003/209/EC of 25 March 2003 setting up a consultative group to be known as the "Experts Group on Trafficking in Human Beings".


Trafficking in human beings is a serious violation of human rights. Since 1996, the European Union (EU) has taken a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to the fight against this phenomenon by adopting various legal instruments such as the Framework-Decision 2002/629/JHA) and a series of programmes including:

  • A programme of incentives and exchanges for persons responsible for combating trade in human beings and the sexual exploitation of children (STOP I and II);
  • A programme on preventive measures to fight violence against children, young people and women (DAPHNE Programme);
  • A framework programme on police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters (AGIS).

As part of the STOP II programme, in September 2002, the European Commission, in conjunction with the International Organisations for Migration (IOM) and the European Parliament, organised the European Conference on Preventing and Combating Traffic in Human Beings - Global Challenge for the 21st Century.

The final result of the Conference is the Brussels Declaration which states that "trafficking in human beings is an abhorrent and worrying phenomenon involving coercive sexual exploitation, labour conditions akin to slavery, exploitation in begging and juvenile delinquency as well as domestic servitude".

The recommendations attached to the Declaration call for an experts group to be set up to consolidate and develop the validity and performance of standards and best practices of the counter trafficking policy.

Provisions relating to the experts group

The Experts Group will take the form of a consultative group in accordance with current practice in other areas. The aim is to provide the European Commission with expertise in the shape of opinions or reports relating to the prevention of and the fight against trafficking in human beings. The group is required to submit a report within nine months of being set up, to enable the Commission to launch new initiatives at European level.

The group will consist of experts in the fight against trafficking in human beings. They must have acquired experience from activities in entities involved in the fight against trafficking in human beings. They will be appointed by the Commission by a procedure involving all the actors concerned. There will be no remuneration.

For the sake of balance, the number of experts in the group is set at 20 including seven from the administrations of EU Member States, four from the administrations of the candidate countries and nine from inter-governmental, international and non-governmental organisations engaged in activities at European level with proven competence and experience in the fight against trafficking in human beings.

The one-year term of office may be renewed. The decision to renew the term of office will be taken on the basis of the results obtained by the group.

Activities of the group

In order to fulfil its mission, the experts group may set up ad hoc working parties comprising eight members at most.

The experts' opinions and reports are transmitted to the Commission, which can publish them on the Internet. If these documents are unanimously adopted by the group, it may establish common conclusions

Additional experts

Under the decision, the experts group can invite official representatives of the Member States, candidate countries or third countries and of international, inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations to hold a dialogue at an early stage between the States and organisations which will have to implement future measures possibly based on the group's recommendations.



Entry into force - Date of expiry

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision 2003/209/EC

26.3.2003 - 16.10.2007


OJ L 79 of 26.3.2003


Commission Decision 2007/675/EC of 17 October 2007 setting up the Group of Experts on Trafficking in Human Beings [Official Journal L 277 of 20.10.2007].

This Decision repeals Decision 2003/209/EC as of 17 October 2007.

Last updated: 17.03.2008