A Bill transposing an EU directive on preventing and combating human trafficking has been published.

The bill provides for more stringent penalties in respect of human trafficking offences.

The amendments transposing the directive provide for the introduction of new concepts in the Maltese legislative framework, such as the incitement, aiding or abetting of an act of human trafficking.

It also introduces a punishment in respect of any person who knowingly makes use of the services or labour of a trafficked person, or who otherwise benefits from such services.

This amendment is in line with recommendations made by the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) in their report relating to Malta. The amendment, the Government said in a statement, is intended to curb the demand for services provided by trafficked persons.

The Bill stipulates that the period of prescription in cases involving minors will start to run from the day that the victim of human trafficking attains the age of majority.

It grants victims of human trafficking offences access to the compensation currently awarded only to victims of violent intentional crimes under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme Regulations.

The Government said it has no intention of tolerating situations where persons are exposed to exploitation by human traffickers, and is therefore taking the necessary steps towards the prevention of such situations.

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