Between January 2016 and June 2016, IOM Malta implemented the project ‘Improve Quality of Prosecution and Protection of Victims of Trafficking through the Justice System in the Republic of Malta’, aimed at supporting the Maltese Government and relevant national actors in the ongoing efforts to counter trafficking in persons.
The project was funded by and implemented in partnership with the Embassy of the Republic of Ireland in Malta, thus highlighting the transnational nature of the crime of trafficking in persons and the need for a coordinated response on the European level. The overall objective of the project was to raise awareness on the trends and issues surrounding trafficking in persons through the analysis of Maltese case law in the field and, ultimately, to contribute to achieving a higher rate of trafficking cases identified, victims protected and perpetrators brought to justice.
The following activities were carried out within the framework of the project:
1. In-depth analysis of trafficking in persons case law
This phase allowed for an in-depth analysis, by an expert in the field, of the trafficking in persons case law and related crimes as dealt with by the Maltese court system. In this process, main trends within the system were identified.
2. Development of training material
The analysis referred to above fed into the development of training modules which were gathered together in the form of a workbook and disseminated to the participants through USB flash drives. These modules were adapted for both, Judges and Magistrates, as well as representatives from the Office of the Attorney General and Vice Squad (Police). The modules offered an in-depth analysis of the legal definition of trafficking in persons, facilitated its translation into practical indicators for the identification of criminal offences as trafficking in persons as well as first-level and formal identification of victims, and highlighted approaches to facilitate the participation of victims in the judicial process.
3. Implementation of trainings
Judges and Magistrates, as well as representatives from the Office of the Attorney General and Vice Squad (Police) were provided with two separate one-day trainings by counter-trafficking experts. Notably, the trainings focused on enhancing the protection of victims of trafficking.
The implementation of the above-mentioned project activities led to the achievement of the following main results:
1. Enhanced capabilities and skills of relevant stakeholders, namely the Office of the Attorney General, the Judiciary as well as Vice Squad (Police) on the issue of trafficking in persons in order to adequately prosecute and convict traffickers.
2. Facilitated cooperation and information sharing among relevant stakeholders on the national level.
3. Information material developed by experts in the field of trafficking disseminated to Maltese key stakeholders in the fight against trafficking in human beings.
As a whole, the successful completion of the project contributed to:
1. Improving all aspects of the criminal proceedings: investigation, prosecution, trial and punishment of traffickers, as well as compensation and protection measures for victims.
2. Strengthening the links and enhancing cooperation between the Police and the Judiciary, mainly during the investigation stage.
3. Addressing possible gaps and deficiencies in the Maltese criminal system and introducing to the Maltese context best practices developed in other EU countries.
4. Contributing to the EU’s counter-trafficking efforts, through the collaboration and information sharing and exchange of experiences between two of its Member States, Ireland and Malta.