EU Adopts Directive on Short-Term Residence Permits for Trafficking Victims
Thursday, April 29, 2004 12:00 PM

In the European Union Press Release of April 29, 2004 (Document Number 8694/004 (Presse 123)) that summarizes the proceedings of the 2579th Meeting of the Council of Ministers of the European Union, the Council announced that it had adopted

a Directive on the residence permit issued to third-country nationals victims of trafficking in human beings or to third-country nationals who have been the subject of an action to facilitate illegal immigration who cooperate with the competent authorities (14994/03). The purpose of this Directive is to strengthen the European Union’s legislative framework for combating illegal immigration by granting a residence permit of limited duration for the victims of action to facilitate illegal immigration and of trafficking in human beings. The granting of the residence permit to which a certain number of benefits is attached is subject to conditions designed to encourage these people to cooperate with the competent authorities against those suspected of committing the crimes in question.

The Directive was written by the European Commission and received the approval of the Justice and Home Affairs Council on November 2, 2003. A copy of the directive as proposed is available here. It is the revision of a previous proposal that was tabled on February 11, 2002 and that was wider in scope.  For a summary and analysis of the first proposal of the Directive, please see the Trafficking Law and Policy: Regional Law and Standards and the Trafficking in Women Legal Protection sections of this website.

Please note that, on March 9, 2004, the European Parliament voted in support of the then proposed directive.  The Parliament also voted to include amendments to give victims greater access to support services, including the possibility of residency permits for family members and adequate language translation services. The result of Parliaments vote was a non-binding Opinion that was presented to the Council of Ministers prior to their adoption of the directive. 

For details on the amendments to the directive suggested by Parliament, see the resolution included at pages 40 to 47 of Texts Adopted at the Sitting of Tuesday, 9 March 2004. For more information on the role of the European Parliament within the European Union, please see the International Law: European Union section of this website.