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VANGUARD launches its efforts aimed at combating human trafficking

The VANGUARD project focuses its efforts on advanced technological solutions, combined with actions to raise awareness and understanding within society, aiding in the dismantling of human trafficking.

This week, on November 7th and 8th, the new European project in which the Euro-Arab Foundation participates, the VANGUARD project on human trafficking, was presented in Thessaloniki, Greece.

The VANGUARD project centers its work on advanced technological solutions, coupled with actions aimed at understanding and raising awareness within society to help dismantle human trafficking. Various interdisciplinary activities will be carried out throughout the program’s implementation, designed for the next three years, incorporating research and specific transfer and training actions.

VANGUARD, funded by the Horizon Europe Programme, is supported by a consortium of 22 organizations – universities, technological development centers, civil society organizations, and public authorities – from twelve European countries: Germany, Belgium, Spain, Estonia, France, Greece, Italy, Moldova, Poland, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and Romania. The Spanish partners in this project are the Euro-Arab Foundation, ATOS, and the Local Police of Murcia.

A team from the Projects Department of the Euro-Arab Foundation attended the sessions in Thessaloniki, including researchers José Riera and Karen Hough, and the head of the Projects Department, Javier Ruipérez. Ruipérez presented the different projects in which the Euro-Arab Foundation has been working in recent years on the specific issue of human trafficking, such as INTERCEPTED, UNCHAINED, or BIGOSINT.

Intervention by the Director of the Projects Department of the Euro-Arab Foundation, Javier Ruipérez, on Human Trafficking:

Trafficking in human beings (THB) is a serious transnational organized crime with diverse dynamics that can take various forms: trafficking for sexual exploitation is the most common form in the EU (60%), followed by labor exploitation (15%), while other forms include forced criminality, forced begging, organ extraction, forced marriages, and others.

Between 2008 and 2019, the number of identified victims of human trafficking more than tripled worldwide, and the total number of victims is much higher than recorded.

Human trafficking not only affects EU Member States but it also has a multidimensional international impact, violating the fundamental rights of individuals and creating security issues in all areas.

Almost 46% of trafficking victims are adult women, and 2 out of 10 are underage girls. Additionally, one-third of all detected victims are girls and boys, and 20% are adult men (UNODC, 2020). More than half of trafficking victims within the EU are EU citizens, and most are victims of internal trafficking within their own country.

As indicated by UNODC, traffickers take advantage of certain vulnerabilities of the victims, caused not only by personal factors but also by economic, social, and societal factors (for example, economic recession, COVID-19 pandemic, conflict-induced migration, etc.), targeting marginalized individuals in difficult situations.”

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