The PAHT project held its latest seminar in the Portuguese Parliament last week on Thursday 13 and Friday 14 September 2012. Welcoming MPs and NGOs from eight EU countries, the seminar was organised in cooperation with the Portuguese Parliament’s Subcommittee on Equality.
The seminar was opened by Anthony Steen, Chairman of the Human Trafficking Foundation and Elza Pais, Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Equality. Ms Pais stated that trafficking is firmly on the agenda of the Portuguese Parliament and that Portugal takes a zero tolerance approach to tackling the problem.
Next followed keynote speeches by Manuel Albano, Coordinator of the National Action Plan and National Rapporteur, and Joana Daniel-Wrabetz, Director of the Observatory on Trafficking in Human Beings. Mr. Albano outlined the Portuguese approach to trafficking, advocating for a rights based approach. He wants trafficking to be brought into mainstream discussion, like the domestic violence debate. He also described an indictaor card developed by the National Rapporteur to provide police with the signs of trafficking.
Ms. Daniel-Wrabetz demonstrated mapping software developed in Portugal, which helps to provide a socio-economic profile of victims. By mapping cases, police can analyse why a particular area might be especially susceptible for cases of trafficking.
The day’s debate concluded with a lively parliamentary discussion on why data collection and evidence gathering on trafficking is important for anti-trafficking efforts, with interventions from Caroline Szyber MP (Sweden), Johan Linander MP (Sweden) and Maria Paula Cardoso MP (Portugal). In the evening, delegates attended a reception at the British Ambassador’s residence, hosted by Deputy Head of Mission Peter Connolly.
Friday started with a presentation on evidence gathering by Christine Beddoe, Director of ECPAT UK. Citing the example of a Bulgarian trafficked child, she highlighted the importance of Joint Investigation Teams in investigating cases of suspected trafficking. After a discussion on the benefits of working together, Klara Skrivankova from Anti Slavery International gave a presentation on the importance of data collection to advocate for change.
Next followed contributions from Portuguese NGOs and government agencies on their experiences of helping victims of trafficking. Finally, Elsa Pais MP and colleagues from the Portuguese Subcommittee on Equality gave presentations to the seminar about the importance of tackling human trafficking.
The PAHT project is grateful to the Assembleia da Republica, especially the staff of the Subcommittee on Equality, and the British Embassy in Lisbon for their help with preparations for the seminar.